Wooden Spoon Marathon runners join our HITZ students

Date: 12 Dec 2018

A group of Midlands-based marathon runners have been given the chance to see how their fundraising efforts will help young people in the region put their best foot forward.

Sixteen runners from Atherstone, Tamworth, and Leicester gathered at Ricoh Arena in Coventry to celebrate a decade of Premiership Rugby’s HITZ programme, which helps young people develop valuable life skills and gain important qualifications and experience from work placements, after raising £52,000 by completing this year’s London Marathon.

They met some of the young people who will benefit from the money raised, after it was revealed that the runners managed to generate enough funds to support the programme for an entire year.

The programme, delivered locally by Wasps and the other 12 Premiership Rugby clubs, has helped more than 13,000 young people aged between 14 and 18 improve their employability skills since 2008.

Sarah Webb, CEO of Wooden Spoon, a children’s rugby charity that supports the initiative, and HITZ National Programme Manager, Kelly Dummer, were also at the home of Wasps to join in activities with the young people.

The challenges to test teamwork and problem-solving – which were delivered by Tamworth-based Puzzle Events - included navigating a route whist blindfolded, reaching the other side of a room using only five blocks, and building a free-standing tower using ten balloons.

Anthony O’Reilly, HITZ Officer at Wasps, said: “To have some of our fundraisers come along and meet some of the kids who have benefited from their hard work was a great way to celebrate a decade of the HITZ programme.

“It meant that they were able to see first-hand where those funds went, and the importance of the HITZ programme to so many young people in the area by getting to know a few of them.

“Without the programme, many of these kids would struggle to take the next step in life after they leave school.

“I’d like to thank all of the marathon runners for their hard work, and I hope that coming along to see the kids was a rewarding experience. We really can’t thank them enough.

“It’s thanks to people like the runners and the generosity of our sponsors Land Rover, Wooden Spoon and Comic Relief, that the HITZ programme is able to run. I hope it can continue to help young people for a long time.”

For more information about Wasps’ HITZ programme, visit www.wasps.co.uk/community/education/hitz