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Top HITZ award for Saint Relon

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

The gong, supported by Barclays, recognises a young person who has overcome barriers to achieve personal success and who has attained the greatest positive progression in their personal journey returning to education, training and employment.

The 18-year-old had no hesitation in admitting that he’d previously been going down the wrong path, but having joined the HITZ programme at Franklin’s Gardens, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball have proved a healthy outlet for his frustrations.

Relon has also furthered his education after leaving school with few qualifications and believes HITZ has been a life changing experience.

"I was a bad boy, I was on the streets and I was doing some bad things but then I came to HITZ,” Relon says about the life changing programme. “I thought to myself, 'what's the point?' you won't get anywhere by doing bad things.

"I am a better person now, I am starting to get my grades and levels then I can start getting in the big leagues. It's not just about rugby it is about achieving goals - it's about brainpower and knowledge.

“I'd be in the gutter without HITZ."

Relon picked up the award in front of prestigious audience at Barclays HQ, while fellow Saints student Ryan Hancock was highly commended in the Best Rugby Performer category.

Minister for Sport Helen Grant was present at the ceremony and acclaimed each of the five award winners, as well as the HITZ programme as a whole.

"These programmes stand or fall by the quality and commitment of the staff who work with the young people,” she said.

"HITZ staff have been singled out time and again by the youngsters for playing crucial roles in helping them change their lives. I want to thank them for that and to encourage them to continue the great work they are doing.

"Each of the young people who have made it to the shortlist have my admiration for the efforts they have made to change their own lives,” she added. "But I also want to praise them for their work with other participants in the HITZ programme and for the contribution many of them have made to their local club or community through their efforts as volunteers. You all fully deserve your award!

"HITZ is more than just rugby. The programme integrates with other organisations such as the probation service and training providers to use rugby union to help young people learn skills, find work or return to education. It is having a positive effect on the lives of the young people it deals with.

"It is a fine example, too, of how I believe sport can be used to address social issues - which I wholeheartedly support. I extend my thanks to all those who run and fund the programme and wish you the best of luck with the scheme into 2015.”

HITZ uses rugby to increase young people's resilience, self-reliance and confidence and gives them the skills to get back into education, apprenticeships and employment. Delivered nationally through 12 Premiership Rugby clubs it is supported by four key partners – Barclays, Comic Relief, Land Rover and Wooden Spoon.

Find out more at www.hitzrugby.com