The Saints works with schools, charities and community groups from across both Northampton and the county as a whole, delivering a wide variety of programmes and projects with help improve the lives of tens of thousands of people.
The work includes the delivery of both local projects such as Kick Smoking Into Touch and the hosting of the annual Northampton Fireworks Display and national programmes like Tackling Numbers and the Aviva National Schools Programme. However through schemes like CashBack the community department also contributes to the growth of the club's supporter base as well by introducing a new generation of fans to Saints rugby.
Saints' heritage of strong community involvement dates all the way back to the club's roots in the St James Boys' Improvement Class established by Revd Samuel Wathen Wigg in 1880, and head of community Sian Haynes says that the work done now in the 21st century is a continuation of that legacy.
"It is tremendous that we have been recognised once again in the shortlist for the All-Parliamentary Awards," she said. "We have a small team in the community department who work incredibly hard throughout the year to try and change the lives of tens of thousands of people across both Northampton and the county as a whole. Year in, year out, we deliver projects in a number of areas, using rugby as a positive influence, but our work is also about engaging people with the Saints and Premiership Rugby as a whole to grow our sport."
The Apprenticeship Scheme, one of just two programmes short-listed for the Land Rover Innovation Award, was introduced at the start of 2012. It has given 10 young people, all aged between 16 and 18 and who were not in full-time education or employment, the opportunity not just to broaden their horizons by working in all areas of the club's business but also gain a nationally recognised qualification, too.
"I'm particularly pleased that our Apprenticeship Scheme has been short-listed for the Innovation Award," Haynes added. "All 10 of the youngsters - all aged between 16 and 18 - who have been part of the scheme over the past few months were not in full-time education or employment, and they have all told us that being a part of the Saints has given them a life-changing experience which they are going to use as a springboard to bigger and better things in the future. Rowland Winter has led this scheme and he deserves a lot of credit for its success so far."
Saints community officer Rowland Winter, who manages the Apprenticeship Scheme, says that he is delighted by the nomination, and that this year's intake will be just the first of many as the club continues to develop over future seasons.
"We always look to push the boundaries of what we do in the community department, and the Apprenticeship Scheme has done just that," he commented. "The vast majority of the club's work is done away from the public eye and we have been able to give youngsters the opportunity to experience all aspects of what we do, including community coaching projects, helping in the Study Centre, our media and marketing operation and retail, conferencing and events.
"The apprentices have also been working towards achieving a qualification through Barnfield College as well, and they have all responded to what was a new experience for all of them. None of the apprentices would have had this opportunity otherwise and I'm very happy that we've been short-listed for a national award - but I'd be even happier if we win it!
"The nomination gives us the recognition for a scheme that is set to develop and improve with the next wave of apprentices in September."
The 2012 All Party Parliamentary Premiership Rugby Community Awards will be handed out in a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on June 27th.
The shortlist in full is:
Land Rover Innovation Award
Northampton Saints - Club Apprenticeship Scheme
Saracens -The Get Onside Project
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Impact Award
Bristol Rugby - Bright Sparks
Saracens - Love To Dance Programme
Gloucester Rugby - Community Heritage Project
Aviva Club of the Year