The partners of the programme are the organisation who benefit from our activity;
The steering group research local community needs, and created a programme of activity to add value to the issues these local organisations face. Homelessness is a big issue in the Midland with Worcestershire having one of the highest percentages of homeless males aged 16-19 in the UK.
This coupled with issues such as health, nutrition, alcohol and substance misuse are areas where our players can offer support and guidance and become mentors and role models. The desire to support this sector of the community evolved into the project at SIFA fireside, a homeless and addiction centre in Birmingham.
This programme not only engages every player but is funded by the players and managed by the players. Pioneered by Dean Schofield, this project has prepared over 1800 cooked breakfast this season.
This project was so successful Dean received the Community Player of the Year award from Premiership Rugby. Warriors Foundation Manager, Carol Hart said 'Dean is a committed, compassionate and dedicated member of our playing department. He needs no prompting when it comes to supporting a cause that is close to his heart. The work he has led at SIFA is second to none and the outcomes have been life-changing for some. Dean has changed Monday mornings for so many homeless people and for this they are truly grateful'.
Warriors' players have a personal affiliation with Acorns Children's Hospice which has been our official partner for a decade. Different groups of players each month spend an afternoon with the children. They engage in fun and games with the children which gives the staff a well-earned break. The children look forwards to the players' visits with excitement and anticipation, and lots of laughter!
This is a fantastic project for the players to engage with as the children all have life-limiting illnesses and some are unable to communicate.
Working with the HITZ students is a Monday morning activity for our players, whilst some will be feeding the homeless, others will be helping the students with their work in the classroom at the stadium. Delivering a lesson or helping a specific students with their work is common. For some of our players, rugby is the difference between success and failure and supporting the HITZ students brings this home to them and keeps them in touch with issues being faced by people around them every day.
These projects not only impact the community on a consistent and regular basis, they benefit our players too. Many of whom have not been exposed to this level of hardship.