BATH RUGBY FOUNDATION: Seeing is believing with Hitz programme
Bath Rugby Foundation's projects normally consist of one or two coaches and a classroom-full of children who take part in inspirational, educational classes to boost confidence.
All of these are brilliant – but Hitz is slightly different. An Aviva Premiership Rugby programme, passed to the Foundation to deliver, has been created to build new lives for young people who are out of education, employment or training.
The main difference in this particular project is the number of sponsors and partners that have come on board.
Wooden Spoon, Premiership Rugby and YMCA Training are the three partners, with Barclays Spaces for Sport and The Tanner Trust funding the project.
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Local agencies who work with 16-19 year-olds such as Job Centre Plus, YMCA and the police's anti-social behaviour team are all working together to help provide each individual with the best possible opportunity to get their lives back on track.
In Bath & North East Somerset and Wiltshire, the youngsters taking part are all unemployed and no longer in school or college. Some have anti-social behavioural difficulties which require high needs. Hitz gives them access to educational support, vocational training, apprenticeships, volunteering and much more.
A 'seeing is believing' day was held for the sponsors and partners to learn what the young people had been doing over the past six months. They were fully involved in working alongside the students and took part in both English and maths sessions.
In maths, they had to look through a recent matchday programme and convert the heights and weights of players into different units of measurement. This was followed by a job skills session looking at the attitude of people in the workplace.
Watching a video of comedienne Catherine Tate, who has an alter-ego of a stroppy 16-year-old, was also a helpful tool when looking at communication and stereotyping. The partners were not just 'flies on the wall', though, and participated in the sessions alongside the youngsters.
The course is run by the Foundation's Stephen Barber, who said: "I'm really pleased with how it went. The youngsters have worked with the adults amazingly well.
"We were quite dubious about how they might act with them but they have communicated and joined in brilliantly, especially on the rugby session where they were all involved – it's been tremendous."
The day ended with a gym session at the YMCA in Bath. Some of those taking part had never been inside a gym before but each week they look forward to the hourly sessions, where they learn to put together their own personal workouts.
The group has taken huge steps in the last six months and is already gaining in confidence and looking towards a positive future. This is their opportunity to shine and achieve their potential. Hitz is the way forward for these youngsters.
For further information about Hitz, contact Stephen Barber on 07563 190 102 or stephen.barber@bathrugby. com.