Rugby World Cup winner Lewis Moody insists the award-winning HITZ programme shows no sign of slowing down any time soon as he gears up for a star-studded celebration.
The HITZ programme tackles some of the greatest challenges facing young people today – unemployment, crime and disillusionment.
Using rugby to increase young peoples’ resilience, self-reliance and confidence, the HITZ programme gives them the skills to get back into education, vocational training, apprenticeships and employment.
HITZ will support the development of 3000 targeted young people every year and an incredible 90 per cent will complete the course, of which three quarters will go on to achieve a positive progression into further education training and employment.
Those who have shone over the course of the last 12 months will be celebrated at the annual HITZ awards on February 4, and Moody believes the future of the programme is very bright for many more years to come.
“Like anything in life it starts out as one thing and then grows and evolves as it develops and that is certainly what HITZ has done,” said Moody, a Rugby World Cup winner in 2003 with England.
“It was all very much rugby focused and that is still the key, but actually now rugby is a smaller part but it is what engages them back into work, education, life or whatever it is – it is actually that grab point.
“Now what they actually do now is they have been integrated all sports. Like in the northern areas of the country where rugby isn’t quite as prominent they are happy to use football or whatever it takes.
“So it has become far more about engaging people and getting people back in education and back on the right path.
“Rugby definitely provides the building blocks for the programme and it has evolved into a lot more and it constantly fascinates me to see how it has developed each time I see it being supported by rugby clubs.
“It is a fantastic and worthwhile programme and one that has really expanded thanks to how many Premiership Rugby clubs have taken it on. They don’t just see it as a social responsibility but they see the genuine benefit from it.”
Moody will be in attendance at the 2016 HITZ Awards as an ambassador of Land Rover; a proud partner who help fund and deliver the programme nationally, alongside Barclays, Wooden Spoon and Comic Relief.
And Moody knows that the path has been set thanks to the hard work and innovation of Land Rover and the staff at HITZ themselves.
“For any of these programmes to develop, you can have an idea but you need support and people with a similar mind set who can get behind it and actually really push it forward and make it happen,” Moody added.
“And that is what Land Rover is really able to do. Land Rover has always been a part of innovation and have always been fascinated by different approaches to things and the way it have got involved with HITZ has helped take it forward and expand it probably a lot quicker and faster than HITZ would have been able to do on its own.”
The annual HITZ Awards recognise some of the most inspiring young people in England. The HITZ programme delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby and funded by national partners Barclays, Comic Relief, Land Rover and Wooden Spoon tackles some of the greatest challenges facing young people today – unemployment, crime and disillusionment. See hitzrugby.com