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Inspiring Gloucester Rugby individuals nominated for top prizes at the 2018 HITZ Awards

Inspiring Gloucester Rugby individuals nominated for top prizes at the 2018 HITZ Awards
Two inspiring individuals from Gloucester Rugby will enjoy time in the spotlight next month after being nominated for top prizes at the 2018 HITZ Awards.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme which, with the help of its funders Land Rover, Wooden Spoon and Comic Relief, works with more than 2,000 14-18 year olds across England every year.

Using rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship, HITZ works to get young people not in education, training or employment (NEET) back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment, and is delivered nationally by England’s 13 professional rugby clubs.

And the time and commitment shown by 12 inspiring individuals will be celebrated on Wednesday 17 October after they were shortlisted for the four prizes on offer at this year’s HITZ Awards, taking place at the BT Centre.

And Gloucester Rugby have a stake in two of the four gongs on offer, with James Marshall nominated for the Rugby Ambassador Award, supported by Land Rover, while Bethany Saunders is in the running for the Academic Achiever Award, supported by Premiership Rugby.

Former World Cup winner and Land Rover ambassador Maggie Alphonsi said:

“I have seen first-hand the impact the HITZ programme can and has had on young people’s lives.

“I can associate with many of the people involved in the programme; through their background but also the positive influence rugby can have in helping them overcome their personal challenges.

“Rugby is a powerful catalyst for good, offering these young people all manner of skills that can help equip them for life.

“The work Land Rover is doing to support the programme and the youngsters involved should be applauded. With its heritage in the sport; spanning over ten years in the UK, Land Rover’s understanding of rugby and its values make the partnership with HITZ a perfect combination for helping HITZ change young people’s lives.”

James had quite a sheltered home life due to his learning difficulties and joined HITZ as he was out of education and unable to find a job.

He loved rugby but did not have the confidence or the knowledge to know where to begin with regards to playing, while he found communication very difficult and was therefore another barrier to participation.

But HITZ helped James to understand that he had the capability to play rugby, and through the programme he has become part of the Gloucester Rugby mixed ability team while he has also managed to secure a job with the club’s onsite maintenance team.

Meanwhile, Bethany joined HITZ with no qualifications and had missed the majority of year 9, 10 and 11 due to poor performance and behaviour. She also struggled with her mental health, feeling anxious and depressed quite often which led to anger and frustration.

Before HITZ her average attendance rate in her last three years of school was below 20%, yet she managed to achieve nearly 100% attendance during the HITZ course. She has gained a number of qualifications, including Maths, English, Food Hygiene, First Aid and Gym Instructing, and Beth has decided she wants to be a personal trainer and is now completing her Level 3 Gym Instructor Qualification.

This year’s glittering HITZ Awards will take place at the BT Centre on Wednesday 17 October where participants, mentors and rugby stars past and present will gather to celebrate the programme’s achievements.

Follow all the action at @HITZRugby

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