"The power of professional rugby with its club brands, facilities, players and coaches to deliver social change is immense. The expansion of Premiership Rugby's social impact work together with partners from public and private sector organisations in the run-up to Rugby World Cup 2015 is using the game to change the lives of individuals and communities for the better through HITZ and our other social change programmes," commented Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive, Premiership Rugby.
David Wheldon, Barclays Managing Director, Brand, Reputation and Citizenship said: "Youth unemployment is a significant issue and HITZ provides an innovative way to address this problem. Our partnership with this Premiership Rugby programme is part of Barclays' broader commitment to changing 5 Million Young Futures by 2015, so the next generation has the skills needed to fulfil their potential and achieve financial security."
Peter Argall, Learning and Development Manager, Comic Relief added: "Comic Relief aims to bring about real and lasting change by tackling the root causes of poverty and social injustice, rather than simply treating the symptoms. We are proud to partner Premiership Rugby by funding HITZ programmes throughout England. Over the years, we have seen that sport can inspire people to change the way they live and fulfil their potential. HITZ is a fantastic programme which inspires young people."
Jonathan Garrett, Jaguar Land Rover Corporate Social Responsibility Director, said: "We are excited to be supporting this fantastic programme. At Jaguar Land Rover, we want to make a real contribution to our local communities and support initiatives that make a difference to people's lives. We have a great partnership with Premiership Rugby and are committed to supporting them grow the game of rugby. What better way than to continue this partnership with supporting a programme that uses rugby in such a positive way."
Steve Holt, CEO, Wooden Spoon added: "At Wooden Spoon we work to transform young people's lives through the power of rugby. We have seen firsthand the lasting impact that programmes using rugby as an engagement tool have had on young lives. The combination of fun and education through sport provides disaffected young people with a real chance to get their lives back on track. We are delighted to be working with Premiership Rugby in support of the HITZ programme as it expands nationally, as we have supported HITZ since its inception."
The award winning HITZ programme tackles some of the greatest challenges facing young people today - unemployment, crime and disillusionment. Delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby and funded by national partners Barclays, Comic Relief, Land Rover and Wooden Spoon, HITZ uses rugby to increase young people's resilience, self-reliance and confidence. It gives them the skills to get back into education, vocational training, apprenticeships and employment. HITZ gives those with no hope new hope. Please visit http://hitzrugby.com to find out more.