Only three years ago, HITZ Northampton, a national programme delivered locally by Premiership Rugby club Northampton Saints, was responsible for helping 15 students. Now, with help of businesses, both locally and nationally, the programme has gone from strength to strength - and nowhere is this more evident than in Northampton.
The programme, based at Franklin’s Gardens, now covers the entire Foundation Learning scheme at Northampton College. That means that more than 200 students can experience everything that HITZ has to offer them.
HITZ tries to instil the core values of rugby: hard work, discipline, and team work. By playing rugby, and being mentored by rugby players, the programme aims to give students opportunities that they will then seize with both hands.
The programme’s national partners are Barclays, Comic Relief, Land Rover and Wooden Spoon. Furthermore HITZ and the Police have a mutually beneficial relationship, with the Police sending their students to Franklin’s Gardens to learn about the programme, while they have accepted six students to do some invaluable work experience with them.
Twice this term already, the Royal Marines have visited over 100 students here in Northampton, delivering both fitness and nutrition advice. The Marines have also given a number of students the fantastic opportunity to go to Limestone Training Camp for a week of living like a Marine. HITZ is designed to help students change their lives, and a massive part of that is in the way they see themselves. As such, being taught how to exercise well and cook healthy meals with little or no cost and equipment is invaluable.
In keeping with this, this year HITZ has established strong links with both the Unit-22 and Trilogy gyms in Northampton. The students are taken for one session a week at each of these locations for structured sports sessions.
A number of guest speakers have also visited HITZ Northampton. Barclays facilitated a training session with 2014 Rugby World Cup winner Danielle Waterman, who came to Franklin’s Gardens to run through some skills and drills before giving a motivational speech on the importance of dedication and perseverance. Also, Jules White from the Last Hurdle has delivered a number of inspirational speeches, as well as offering a number of students work experience with her social media company.
“I’m really happy about the progression of HITZ Northampton this year,” said HITZ Officer Matt Goode.
“Last year was great but this year seems to have eclipsed it already. We’re helping more students to achieve their potential than ever before and we’re really pleased that businesses are buying into the programme to give our students wonderful opportunities to help them now and in the future.”
HITZ Northampton would like to extend its thanks to Matrix Networks, who not only donated two equipment sheds but also volunteered to assist staff in the supervision and pastoral care of the students. As well as this, Matrix also arranged for a HITZ Northampton student to visit their marketing company, Fogg Associates, for two days of work experience.
HITZ Northampton is growing all the time, so if you or your business would like to help the programme with either visits, talks, or work experience, please contact [email protected] for more information.