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Gloucester Rugby Foundation | Leila’s Story

Gloucester Rugby Foundation | Leila’s Story
The Gloucester Rugby Foundation runs many community initiatives designed to engage, educate and inspire young adults into education, employment, and training through the power of sport. Leila, one of our ex-participants and long-standing volunteers has gone from applicant, to participant, to helping to run one of our programmes; all whilst working towards getting her teaching qualifications.
“Before volunteering with HITZ, I was new to Gloucester, living in supported housing. I hadn’t been in any form of employment for a very long time. I was trying to get, and stay, out of trouble. I needed structure. I was nowhere near confident enough to get a job and my CV was pretty much non-existent. I had no idea what I wanted to do.” - Leila

Leila was working with the Nelson Trust project through the GEM (Going the Extra Mile) project before transferring to the Gloucester Rugby Foundation’s GEM project. The GEM project is an individualised mentoring service that looks to help individuals who are the furthest away from work back into employment or education.
“I started the GEM programme though the Nelson Trust and my GEM worker found HITZ. I wasn’t suitable to be on the programme but Matt (Gloucester Rugby HITZ Officer) offered me a volunteering position. This made me realise that I really wanted to work with young people” - Leila

The HITZ Traineeship, which is run from Kingsholm Stadium, is an inclusive 15-week programme that encompasses, education, experience, and enrichment to holistically develop young people.  The project gives young people the tools to improve their health, employability, and wellbeing.
“I enjoyed helping out in the classroom and getting to know the students and I understood some of the different challenges they faced. My confidence grew and I even started looking outside of HITZ to do other voluntary roles with primary schools and gardening.”

“I have now moved out of supported accommodation, have a full week of volunteering and working experience, and am doing my level 3 teaching assistant course. Seeing the work the Gloucester Rugby Foundation do, as both a GEM participant AND a HITZ volunteer has helped me in so many ways” - Leila

Matt Russell, Gloucester Rugby HITZ Officer spoke of Leila’s growth during the time he has known her
“Over the past year, Leila has grown from being a shy, timid young woman with very little working experience to be an integral part of the classroom. I knew from our first meeting with her that she was bright and had a very welcoming demeanour. Most importantly, Leila showed an understanding personality and we as staff were determined to make sure she had the support she needed to bring her out of her shell.

It takes a special kind of person to be able to sit down with some of our challenging students and work with them through their barriers to learning, whether that is mental health issues, challenging behaviours or a history of trauma. Leila should be extremely proud of the progress she has made, and the work she has done with GEM, HITZ and the Gloucester Rugby Foundation.”

To find out more about the projects mentioned, please contact Matt Russell: [email protected]
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