Connie Perkins could hardly believe her luck as she was named Community Volunteer of the Year – supported by CVC - at the 2019 Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards.
Gloucester Rugby and England forward Aaron Hinckley and Sale Sharks’ Matt Hulme were also on the shortlist, but Connie prevailed for her continued dedication to making sure people are comfortable and confident while volunteering through Wasps community programmes.
Connie dedicated at least four hours a week supporting mixed ability touch rugby sessions at Old Leamingtonians RFC and helping to host a sports club for people with Down’s Syndrome all the while juggling revision for her GCSE exams.
Yet for the all the work put in by Connie, whose involvement in the project was inspired by a family friend’s son who has the condition, she was taken aback by winning the award at the House of Commons on Wednesday.
She said: “I was very surprised to win the award but it’s great to get something back for the work. I didn’t expect it. It’s very humbling to have been recognised.
“I chose to give up my time because it’s good to take my mind off revision and it’s something that I look forward to every week. The people there are amazing and they make me want to go back every week.
“It made me feel part of a community and a team which is brilliant. It’s great to help those less fortunate.
“We do lots of different rugby sessions to get the young people comfortable with playing rugby so that they enjoy it. We’ve had matches, tournaments, we’ve been to Twickenham and been on the pitch and done lots of amazing things.
“I can see that every single one of them are enjoying the experiences and that they’ve got a bright future ahead.”
Connie has been so praised for her work for not only giving up vast amounts of time but for also helping individuals on the programme who had been struggling to integrate and for making sure everyone feels included.
With an award now to her name, Connie has no plans to stop doing what she loves by helping young people who need it.
Connie added: “I definitely plan to carry on with the programme, I don’t think I know how to stop! I could see myself giving up time revising for A Levels and at university in the future.
“Getting to meet all the people who do the same thing as me for different clubs has been humbling today. To hear about everyone else’s stories has been really nice.”
To read more about Premiership Rugby’s community programmes, please visit www.premiershiprugby.com/in-the-community while you can join in the conversation via the hashtag #ImproveAMillionLives