Inspiring Wasps duo nominated for top prizes at the 2018 HITZ Awards

Date: 25 Sep 2018

Two inspiring individuals from Wasps will enjoy time in the spotlight next month after being nominated for top prizes at the 2018 HITZ Awards.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme which, with the help of its funders Land Rover, Wooden Spoon and Comic Relief, works with more than 2,000 14-18 year olds across England every year.

Using rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship, HITZ works to get young people not in education, training or employment (NEET) back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment, and is delivered nationally by England’s 13 professional rugby clubs.

And the time and commitment shown by 12 inspiring individuals will be celebrated on Wednesday 17 October after they were shortlisted for the four prizes on offer at this year’s HITZ Awards, taking place at the BT Centre.

And Wasps have a stake in two of the four gongs on offer, with Mark Leeson nominated for the Champion Award, supported by Comic Relief, while Carter Moran is in the running for the Young Achiever Award, supported by Wooden Spoon.

Former World Cup winner and Land Rover ambassador Maggie Alphonsi said: “I have seen first-hand the impact the HITZ programme can and has had on young people’s lives.

“I can associate with many of the people involved in the programme; through their background but also the positive influence rugby can have in helping them overcome their personal challenges.

“Rugby is a powerful catalyst for good, offering these young people all manner of skills that can help equip them for life.

“The work Land Rover is doing to support the programme and the youngsters involved should be applauded. With its heritage in the sport; spanning over ten years in the UK, Land Rover’s understanding of rugby and its values make the partnership with HITZ a perfect combination for helping HITZ change young people’s lives.”

Mark is a Firefighter at Bickenhill Fire Station and is passionate about working with young people from underrepresented backgrounds, helping to support them with changing their lives for the better. His delivery on the programme is most often done out of work hours, as he wanted to give his time to support the learners when he could.

His positive outlook and supportive nature furnishes the students with the confidence and belief to achieve their aspirations. He is passionate about the programme, cares about the students and gives them experiences they may not have previously had before.

Meanwhile, Carter was teased and bullied at school due to him being transgender. He was subjected to substantial abuse from his peers which resulted in him missing out on the majority of his secondary school life.

Throughout his time on the programme Carter has overcome numerous challenges and has grown considerably. He has worked tirelessly to achieve his qualifications, build on his leadership skills through volunteering with different organisations within the community, and volunteered in schools as a sports leader coaching on behalf of Coventry Sports Foundation.

This year’s glittering HITZ Awards will take place at the BT Centre on Wednesday 17 October where participants, mentors and rugby stars past and present will gather to celebrate the programme’s achievements. Follow all the action at @HITZRugby