Worcester Warriors’ HITZ programme has gone from strength to strength since the first cohort joined at the start of this year and last Monday saw its official launch.
The HITZ programme is run in partnership with Premiership Rugby and funded by national partners, Comic Relief and Wooden Spoon, incorporating training provision from Prospect Training Services.
It uses rugby to help improve the lives of 11 to 19-year-olds from challenging backgrounds who are not in education, employment or training.
Youngsters spend three days a week at Sixways Stadium to develop their skills in a range of areas and build confidence.
They are also given the opportunity to gain a Level One Diploma in Maths, English, ICT and Sport during the 20-week course, which is overseen by Warriors’ HITZ Officer Stuart Brooks.
During last Monday’s launch, the 16 young people already on the course did a rugby and martial arts demonstration, as well as talking through their experience of the programme.
Local businesses, funders and representatives from the local media were in attendance and were given a taste of how the HITZ programme has helped the youngsters.
Stuart said: “The launch was great as the young people already on the programme spoke really well about it and they enjoyed the day as well.
“A lot of these young people aren’t in school so get left out of the normal channels. We are there to get them back on track and to help them achieve further education, employment with training, undertake apprenticeships or vocational training and enter paid employment.
“Our target is to get 40 kids to do the programme every year and we are confident of doing this after a positive beginning.”
Warriors captain James Percival was also in attendance and described how beneficial the programme can be.
He said: “The HITZ programme is great and I was so pleased that I got to go down and see first-hand what they have been up to and all the good work that they have done already.
“It is not just about bringing young people into rugby but also about building confidence in these young people and helping them stay away from trouble and encouraging them to realise their own personal goals.
“I didn’t do rugby at school and only really got into the game because someone said to me ‘you’re a big lad, do you fancy having a go’ so I am sure the HITZ programme will help with that side of things.
“But it is so much more and having grown up in Worcester and being a proper Worcester boy, I am delighted that the club are helping the community and giving these young people some direction – I wish it was around when I was growing up.”