Students attending London Irish’s HITZ programme had a day to remember when they visited the club’s Hazelwood training complex earlier this month.
Greeted by Chief Executive Bob Casey, the Exiles icon gave the Berkshire-based pupils a tour of the club’s state-of-the-art facilities before introducing them to first team players Conor Gilsenan and Matt Williams.
Gilsenan showed the pupils how to use the gym equipment, while Academy graduate Williams spoke about his passion for rugby and what it takes to become a professional during a Q&A.
The award winning HITZ programme which tackles some of the greatest challenges facing young people today, aims to get young people aged between 16 and 18 back into education and help them gain the required qualifications to progress to college or an apprenticeship.
Ben Knut, a pupil on the programme said: “I had a fantastic day at the home of London Irish and we all had a great time meeting the players and staff.
“Conor was impressed with my strength in the gym and told me I should get involved in playing rugby, which has given me the confidence to do just that.”
HITZ Officer Ainsley Campbell said: “It was a great day for the HITZ pupils to see what goes on at a professional rugby club. They thoroughly enjoyed the day and took a lot out of it – they are all looking forward to coming back and spending more time with the players.”
The HITZ programme aims to:-
• Support and educate disadvantaged and disillusioned young people into further opportunities in mainstream education and training, whilst realising their own personal outcome (apprenticeship, employment with training, access to apprenticeships and further education)
• Encourage participants into regular sporting participation to receive the associated health and wellbeing benefits
• Encourage good relations between people regardless of their backgrounds
• Reduce crime and anti-social behaviour
For more details please visit the HITZ website - www.HITZrugby.com