The HITZ team work hard to recruit the young people from Barking and Dagenham using a combination of school visits, taster sessions, youth websites and flyering on local housing estates to try and give as many youngsters the opportunity to get involved. In the last two months HITZ has delivered over 150 hours of activities in the community, three members of their coaching programmes have gone on to join the local junior rugby clubs and in November they took 40 young people to Wembley to watch a match between Saracens and Harlequins.
The plans for this area do not stop there. In this next term HITZ will be delivering a Rugby Ready coaching course, an ASDAN qualification in rugby and will be conducting workshops in personal safety, sexual health and substance misuse for all of the regular participants.
Also present to watch the session were representatives from project sponsors, United House. Paul Nicholls, Business Development Director for United House said,
"Our work mainly consists of maintaining, building and developing council owned properties in this area, so the benefits to us are obvious. It gives us the chance to build relationships in the local community, as our normal dealings with the residents are often under stressful circumstances, so this sort of project helps us to show that we are here to help and gives us a platform to connect with the next generation of people in this area."
The HITZ kids with Paul Nicholls from project sponsors, United House
Erik Stein, Group Manager of the Integrated Youth Service at the local council said,
"As a Local Authority we try to offer a wide range of projects to young people, and HITZ obviously forms part of that. It caters for young people who may not be interested in other areas and with Barking and Dagenham being such a Rugby-based area it provides a natural progression into the community for the young people who participate."
HITZ targets 11-19 year olds who are at risk of offending or already involved in crime. This is done by using referrals from pupil referral units, schools, youth services, social services or the police. As well as rugby sessions, the programme delivers personal development sessions, workshops and one to one youth-work activity to initiate long-term behaviour changes.
The HITZ project is currently running in 10 London boroughs and has over 750 participants registered at present. Wooden Spoon and Premiership Rugby are working towards expand the programme through all of the 12 Aviva Premiership Clubs across the country.
For more information on this and other community programmes supported by Wooden Spoon please visit the project pages of this website or look out for the next edition of Spoonews due out in April.
HITZ attendees getting their hands on the ball.
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