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HITZ and Northampton Saints help Jasmine work towards independence

Jasmine has grown to become the best version of herself thanks to Premiership Rugby’s HITZ programme at Northampton Saints. HITZ has instilled self-confidence and supported her to push boundaries, leading to aspirations that once felt out of reach. 

After living in care for 10 years due to a difficult relationship with her mother and coping with the death of her grandfather, Jasmine found school all too much. Her grief played out in her behaviour at school and resulted in confrontation and aggression and left her with complex emotions that she struggled to manage. Such was the impact, Jasmine was pulled out of mainstream education and referred to the HITZ programme. 

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s flagship education and employability programme, working with over 2,000 14-to-23-year-olds across England every year with the support of the CVC Foundation and Wooden Spoon, and is delivered with official education partner SCL Education Group. Delivered by 13 Premiership Rugby shareholder clubs, the programme uses the power of community alongside rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline, and sportsmanship, to support young people not in education, employment, or training (NEET) back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment.

Jasmine is just one inspirational young person we will be celebrating during Round 21 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby (25-27 March). All matches during this weekend will be dedicated to the award-winning community programmes we run. These benefit more than 250,000 people across the UK every year and we will be shining the spotlight on some of the individuals supported to celebrate their stories.  

Jasmine joined HITZ feeling very low. This resulted in a very reactive response as a defence mechanism and she arrived lacking social skills, displaying negative body language and struggling with punctuality. Slowly Jasmine settled and started to gain confidence. She became increasingly open about her feelings and identified them quickly in different situations. Providing Jasmine an environment where she felt comfortable to talk about her emotions led to improved self-awareness with a knock-on effect of improved behaviour. 

“HITZ helps me to offload my feelings. I am more relaxed here and a calmer version of myself.”

Jasmine

By supporting Jasmine to navigate her feelings and channel them through rugby, alongside educational challenges, her HITZ Officers saw a renewed emotional wellbeing. She now shows signs of a happier outlook in terms of her future and her home life.

Northampton Saints Foundation’s HITZ Officer, Shirley Malin said of her journey: “Jasmine has come such a long way since she started with us, she now seems relaxed and at ease. She now faces daily challenges head on. We are proud of her.”

Craig Phillips, Employability Lead at Northampton Saints Foundation continued: “She is a credit to her own self-awareness. Her interaction and learning style have become increasingly more confident and socially involved.”

By being more open with her feelings and using this as a coping mechanism it has helped her to thrive. Jasmine is now more confident in group and one-to-one situations which has encouraged friendships. She is now working towards achieving her Maths and English qualifications alongside taking the next steps to study Level 2 Childcare at College.  With these skills and work experience to gain paid employment under her belt, Jasmine is now planning for independent living.

Wayne Morris, Community & Corporate Social Responsibility Director at Premiership Rugby, says of Jasmine’s story: “We are delighted to be able to support Jasmine to work towards an independent life. Learning through community programmes like HITZ provides a different approach to education that engages and ignites confidence and addresses personal and emotional challenges that young people can struggle to overcome in mainstream settings.’

Since its inception in 2008 the HITZ programme has helped over 20,000 14–23-year-olds, like Jasmine, with 75% completing the HITZ learning academy. A huge 80% of participants have expressed improvements in life skills such as confidence and resilience. It is these newfound skills that help 80% of the participants who complete the programme to go straight on to education, employment, or training. 

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