Wasps HITZ student nominated for Premiership Rugby’s BREAKTHRU Achiever of the Year award

Date: 8 Jul 2019

Representatives of Wasps, Gloucester Rugby and Newcastle Falcons are all up for Premiership Rugby’s BREAKTHRU Achiever of the Year award, supported by SCL, as community rugby programmes continue to transform lives on and off the pitch.

Danielle Tuson, who attends the Wasps HITZ Programme and also helps out with the community team on matchdays, is up for the gong.

And one of the award’s judges, SCL Divisional Employability Lead Ian Cooper, is predicting an extremely close race between the trio of candidates ahead of the winner being announced on Wednesday 17 July.

The Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards 2019 takes place at the House of Commons next week with a specially-selected panel picking the recipient of the BREAKTHRU Achiever of the Year award, which recognises participants who have excelled in any education, health or social inclusion programme.

Every year hundreds of people up and down the country give their time to help run Premiership Rugby initiatives such as – but not limited to – HITZ, Project Rugby, Tackling Health and Move Like A Pro.

From going the extra mile to help youngsters in the local area, to helping more girls and women get into the game, these ground-breaking schemes all seek to help the community reach new heights both on and off the rugby pitch.

And Ian was amazed at the inspirational stories that were submitted, with the three shortlisted all more than deserving of the prestigious award.

“The BREAKTHRU Achiever of the Year award was a hard category to judge as all were worthy winners,” he said.

“It is fabulous to see the commitment made to support so many people in the direct and wider community of all of the Premiership Clubs.

“Premiership Rugby and the sport has such a great connection to the grassroot level clubs and it makes it all the more accessible to everyone when you can take part in programme just around the corner – it’s great to see!”


Shortlist for BREAKTHRU Achiever of the Year award, supported by SCL:


  • Jared Spence – Gloucester Rugby – Jared joined Premiership Rugby’s HITZ programme after dropping out of school in Year 10, being home schooled and only passing his English and Maths qualifications. Having suffered from anxiety, taking part in HITZ allowed the flexibility Jared required in order to complete his courses and not become overwhelmed. As part of the HITZ programme, Jared was able to gain his gym instructor level 2 qualification and he now works and is on the path to becoming a personal instructor.


  • Courtney Bell – Newcastle Falcons – After dropping out of mainstream college, Courtney was referred onto the HITZ programme where she has thrived from the informal and practical learning environment. This has enabled her to move forward with her education and get closer to her dream job of working with disabled children. Having suffered with low self-esteem, being part of HITZ has allowed Courtney to grow in confidence and become more comfortable in social situations.


  • Danielle Tuson – Wasps – Having been excluded from a number of schools, Danielle felt isolated, was unable to channel any of her emotions and didn’t have anyone to confide in. Since joining the HITZ programme, she has turned her life around. HITZ’s small class sizes and understanding staff provided her with the support she never had in mainstream education. Through the programme she has made new friends, increased her confidence and self-esteem and is currently working towards her Level 2 in Maths and English and then plans to return to college to enrol on a sports course whilst also continuing to volunteer in youth work.


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