Northampton Saints Community and Foundation teams are joining forces to open a brand-new Education Hub at Ipswich RFC.
Opening its doors from September the Hub will welcome a number of students from the region who are in need of the Foundation’s support, as well as becoming the home of the Community team’s Suffolk-based activities.
The rugby club – which is part of Northampton’s affiliated club scheme and already hosts several of Saints’ rugby camps throughout year – will offer the Foundation spacious rooms in which to run their Engage programme, an advanced inclusion programme aimed to assist students who are struggling within education.
The brand-new Hub comes thanks to a substantial grant funded by Suffolk Community Foundation through the Suffolk Police & Crime Commissioner's Fund, that will support the establishing of the programme in Ipswichwith the aim of reducing anti-social behaviour, crime and gang activity in the area.
Northampton Saints Foundation has seen a significant increase in the number of students being referred to them over the past year and to accommodate the growing number of students will now spread their reach to a fourth Hub in Ipswich, adding to their bases at Franklin’s Gardens, Milton Keynes and Old Northamptonians RFC.
Catherine Deans, Managing Director of Saints Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be expanding the vital work of Northampton Saints Foundation into the wider region for the first time.
“The demand for the Engage programme has grown exponentially, undoubtably linked to the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable young people. This new Hub will help support the great work already taking place in Ipswich and give much-needed positive pathways to those aged 10 to 16 who find themselves in a challenging position within their education setting.”
Meanwhile the Hub will provide Saints Community space to expand their offering further into the Eastern Counties, with several projects in local schools set to expand into the region from September alongside the camps already hosted in Ipswich.
And with a new Rugby Development Officer to be based at the Hub, the Community team hope to strengthen ties with the region through their expanded framework.
“We are really looking forward to establishing our first Community Hub in the Eastern Counties,” said Saints Head of Community, Connor Fleming.
“We have delivered rugby camps around Suffolk for many years, but this new Hub will be a huge step forward in being able to better support the provision and levels of participation in rugby across the county.
“Ipswich RFC is the perfect location for our Hub. They’re a great club with bright ambitions for the future and a determined set of volunteers. They’re also well embedded in the local community and schools, which makes it a great place to begin building relationships with local people.”