Learners from Gloucester Rugby’s HITZ programme are using the business skills they have been taught to feed hungry rugby fans at Kingsholm.
Through the medium of rugby, Premiership Rugby’s award-winning HITZ programme, funded by partners Land Rover, Comic Relief and Wooden Spoon, supports young people not in education, training or employment (NEET) to learn and achieve.
Gloucester’s HITZ Learning Academy targets 16-18-year-olds to improve their functional maths and English, develop valuable life skills and gain important qualifications alongside experience from work placements and employer-led sessions.
This includes how to cook food and run a catering unit, with the learners helping out on matchdays at Kingsholm by whipping up some ‘Gloucester Burritos’ – a warm snack of roast beef and vegetables wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding – at the #ScrumptiousGloucester stall.
What a beautiful day to get stuck in. Our @HITZRugby students learning how to make gorgeous, socially responsible and healthy food at our #scrumptiousgloucester stall. #keepgrowing #communitycomesfirst pic.twitter.com/gGphjz9J3M
— GloucesterRugby HITZ (@HITZGloucester) February 24, 2018
#ScrumptiousGloucester sees Gloucester Rugby Community Charity team up with Clifford Freeman of Evere’s Farm, Redmarley, with all ingredients are sourced locally and any profit put back into the project.
Not only helping them learn to cook, the programme also provides a way of interacting with an Aviva Premiership Rugby club that the HITZ youngsters wouldn’t usually have the chance to experience.
And HITZ learner Brandon Webb, 16, recently appeared on BBC Radio Gloucestershire alongside Gloucester fly-half Billy Burns to talk about the programme.
He said: “It’s really good fun, learning new things that can go on your CV that can help you further. A few of the guys want to be chefs as well so it helps with that.
“I finished school back in September and I was stuck at home, then my support worker told me about HITZ – I went along to it and ended up really liking it, so I joined up with them and I’ve been there ever since.
“It’s a lot more fun than at school, they don’t treat you like kids, they treat you with respect and you treat them with respect.
“Hopefully at the end I can get my GCSEs and go on to Hartpury College.”
— GloucesterRugby HITZ (@HITZGloucester) March 1, 2018
And Cherry and Whites No.10 Burns gave his support to the programme, praising its benefits not just for the rugby club but for the community as a whole.
He said: “It’s great to hear about the HITZ course going so well, getting these guys out and about, getting to Kingsholm with a full house and selling food and watching a bit of the game, it’s great for them.
“Johan (Johan Ackermann, Gloucester director of rugby) is always going on about inspiring the next generation and hopefully we can do that with these guys coming to games.
“It can only be a positive to the club and Gloucestershire as an area.”