Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion and Worcester Warriors have teamed up to give young people, who have come from challenging backgrounds, the opportunity to learn valuable life skills and gain qualifications.
The West Mercia Commissioner has funded HITZ, an alternative education programme that is run by the Worcester Warriors Community Foundation. Since HITZ was set up in Worcester, seven years ago, it has helped hundreds of 16 to 18 year-olds who are disillusioned with mainstream education. Thanks to the new funding, the programme will now be set up in Redditch with the same aim.
HITZ will run for three days a week for a minimum of 20 weeks, or as long as the individual feels they need the support for. The aim of the programme is to give these young people qualifications in maths and English, that are nationally recognised, and help them become more work-ready by providing them with other skills. This can include helping them access financial support, giving them guidance on how to make the best decisions (including choosing their peer groups) and teaching them how to cook and eat more healthily.
The programme also naturally uses rugby, and sport in general, to show how it can help with life skills such as team work, communication, respect and discipline.
Commissioner John Campion said: “When I learn of initiatives like HITZ, I don’t even have to think twice about finding a way to support them. They are working with some of the hardest to reach young people who have suffered adverse childhood experiences, or are disenchanted with school.
“By offering these young people the support they need to work through their negative experiences, they can be advised about how to make the right choices in their lives and potentially break a cycle that might otherwise lead them into the criminal justice system.”
Carol Hart, Head of the Warriors’ Community Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded a grant by the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver the award-winning HITZ programme in Redditch.
“Some of the young people we work with have come from the most difficult backgrounds, some are homeless, others may be struggling with an addiction, or may have a family member who is struggling with addiction. HITZ cuts through these issues by offering them a safe and alternative place where they can express how they feel. We are looking forward to helping more young people change their stars.”