An inspiring Northampton Saints youngster will have his hard work celebrated after being nominated for a prize at this year’s HITZ Awards.
HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme, which works with over 2,000 disadvantaged 14-19 year-olds across England every year.
And to celebrate the hard work put in by countless individuals up and down the country, the 2017 HITZ Awards will take place on November 21 at the BT Centre in a glittering London ceremony.
Of the five gongs on offer, the HITZ Best Rugby Performer award recognises a young person whose progress in the sport of rugby – on and off the pitch – has helped them overcome a range of challenges and progress back into education, training or employment, with Northampton Saints’ Milton Kachecha one of three finalists.
Wayne Morris, Premiership Rugby Community and CSR Director, said: “The judges and I were mightily impressed by each of the nominees – reading them really did bring home the power of the programme to change lives, and also highlights the dedication and commitment of our HITZ teams in supporting these young people to achieve such fantastic things.
“It was very tough afternoon’s judging! In some ways it’s a good problem to have, but it does make the shortlisting process very challenging.
“However, each of our expert judges rose to the occasion, carefully considering each application and challenging each other to do a great job!
“Their commitment really reflects the invaluable input of our partners into HITZ, without whom the programme wouldn’t be possible.”
Milton struggled in school after arriving from his home country of Zimbabwe, and was quick to turn to anger due to his confidence being knocked while struggling academically.
However, he played a bit of rugby in his home country before moving over and picked the sort back up in England, helping his colts team at Old Northamptonians to win the Alliance Cup at Franklin’s Gardens.
But rugby gave Milton much more than just joy on the pitch as it boosted his confidence and helped him turn his life around and get back on track, with him now understanding that he needs to work hard to achieve his dreams in rugby and academically.
“The HITZ programme has really gone from strength-to-strength, which is very obvious in the quality of these nominations alone,” Wayne added.
“What struck me the most is the breadth of backgrounds and experiences of the young people on the programme, as well as the barriers they’ve overcome to participate.
“We are delighted that HITZ is having such an impact on the lives of young people right across the country.”
This year’s glittering HITZ Awards will take place at the BT Centre on Tuesday 21 November where participants, mentors and rugby stars past and present will gather to celebrate the programme’s achievements. Follow all the action at @HITZRugby