Worcester Warriors’ HITZ ambassador Chelsea Parker has been named Premiership Rugby’s Young Achiever of the Year at the Parliamentary Community Awards, thanks to her ability to thrive in the face of adversity.
All 12 Premiership Rugby clubs up and down the country host a series of community schemes every year, such as Aviva Tackling Numbers, HITZ, On The Front Foot, Rugby 4 All, Something To Chew On, Move Like A Pro and Urban Rugby Squad.
Thousands of participants have these initiatives to thank for helping them discover new skills both on and off the pitch.
The Young Achiever of the Year Award supported by Premiership Rugby seeks to reward a young participant who has ‘made the most’ from their time on one of these programmes, and in Parker they have found a worthy winner.
Clive Efford former Shadow Sports Minister agrees, “Chelsea has set a great example to her peers on the Worcester Warriors’ HITZ programme and her story is a clear example of how rugby can change lives.
“She has overcome a number of emotional and social barriers and become heavily involved in volunteering, which really benefits her local community.”
Having been a part of the HITZ programme since October, the 17-year-old has had to overcome a host of inner demons that stemmed from an addiction to drugs, as well as a difficult life at home and being bullied at school.
Since joining the HITZ programme, Parker’s behaviour has changed dramatically and having previously found it difficult to look strangers in the eye, she is now participating in volunteer work and spreading her infectious personality to other HITZ participants.
She has even chosen to pursue a Level 2 programme with HITZ, and having been part of the judging panel for the Young Achiever of the Year Award, the Movember Foundation’s Emily Cramp admitted she was taken aback with the progress Parker had made in such a short space of time.
“Chelsea’s story is a very special and inspiring one, and while it was a hard decision with a lot of outstanding nominees, she is so deserving of this award,” said the Movember Foundation’s brand and communications consultant.
“She has had to overcome some very serious obstacles in a short space of time, and the huge progress she has made makes her the perfect recipient.
“Chelsea made some bad choices early on but she has since shown she is willing to learn from those and also teach others not to follow those paths, which is a major accomplishment.”
Parker was crowned as the Premiership Rugby Young Achiever of the Year at the glittering Parliamentary Community Awards ceremony at the House of Commons on Thursday July 7, where all the nominees and their guests were invited to attend.
To read more about Premiership Rugby’s community programmes, please visit premiershiprugby.com/community or join in the conversation #RugbyChangingLives