Worcester Warriors’ HITZ ambassador Chelsea Parker was left in shock after being named Premiership Rugby’s Young Achiever of the Year, thanks to her ability to thrive in the face of adversity.
Chelsea was recognised as the young achiever that had ‘made the most’ of Premiership Rugby’s HITZ programme, battling inner demons that stemmed from an addiction to drugs, as well as a difficult life at home and bullying at school.
Chelsea’s efforts have also captured the attention of Robin Walker, Member of Parliament for Worcester, who is a big supporter of the HITZ programme.
"I’ve watched HITZ evolve over the years, I’ve watched some of the events Worcester Warriors have run at Sixways, and I’ve always been really impressed by their work," he said.
"It’s fantastic to see an achiever like Chelsea win an award when she’s been through so much and turned her life around."
Since overcoming confidence issues, Chelsea has constantly participated in volunteer work while spreading her enthusiasm to other HITZ learners, rewarded with an unforgettable day at the House of Commons to celebrate her achievement a the Parliamentary Community Awards.
"I didn’t even believe it was my name being called out, but it was and I feel so happy and proud of myself," said the 17-year-old.
"Before HITZ I got into the wrong crowd and I basically lost my family. My mum was reporting me missing, the police were getting me and I was taking drugs which really messed my head up.
"I left school without any GCSEs, but since joining HITZ I started opening up to Stu Brooks [Worcester Warriors’ HITZ officer] and I just realised that HITZ was going to help me change."
Chelsea was among four winners at the Premiership Rugby Community Awards, with Volunteer of the Year, PLAY and BreakThru accolades also given.
Phil Dowson, Worcester back-rower and an admirer of Chelsea’s journey, commended her work and dedication on the programme.
"It’s a massive privilege for everyone to come down to the House of Commons and it’s a credit to both their hard work – Stu showing that the opportunities are out there and Chelsea for having that massive work ethic," he said.
"We talk about using rugby as a tool to build character and when things are tough and aren’t going well with home, family or college, the HITZ programme and Stu have given Chelsea that toughness and resilience."
To read more about Premiership Rugby’s community programmes, please visit premiershiprugby.com/community or join in the conversation #RugbyChangingLives