Local Sale Sharks stars shortlisted for Premiership Rugby HITZ awards 2022

Two incredible individuals from Sale Sharks are to have their achievements on and off the pitch recognised at the Premiership Rugby HITZ Awards 2022 on 22 November at Twickenham Stadium.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s flagship education and employability programme, supporting young people to make positive changes in their lives. Working with more than 2,000 14–24-year-olds across England every year, the programme is supported by CVC, Wooden Spoon and East Head Impact, with Central YMCA as the programme’s official education provider.

Participants on the programme learn in an environment different to mainstream education where rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline, and sportsmanship are at the heart of the session delivery. The results are life changing.

Shortlisted from Sale Sharks are two individuals with stories of self-discipline, commitment and courage beyond measure. They have worked against all odds to improve their own lives or the lives of others within an inclusive environment of the HITZ family.

Alison Warwood, Chief Executive Officer from Sales Sharks Foundation commented; “We know how tough the competition is in these awards as there are so many compelling stories of success across all the clubs. For Bunni and Kev to be shortlisted is a huge achievement and we are incredibly proud of them. We continue to see a determination and desire like never before from our young people like Bunni to improve their lives, {and we couldn’t help them progress positively without the unwavering support of people like Kev.} No matter what happens on the night, they are already our winners!”


Kev Mannion is shortlisted for the Champion Award. This recognises an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to support HITZ participants to overcome their personal barriers. They may be a member of the HITZ team or the local community.

Kev supports students as part of his teaching assistant training with unwavering empathy, patience and understanding. He is a Sharks Academy Coach with a genuine passion to help children, he not only helps with educational challenges he guides learners through additional health and fitness sessions to improve wellbeing. 

Bunni Ledwards is shortlisted for the Young Achiever Award. This recognises and rewards a young person who, by overcoming a range of challenges, has worked the hardest to progress on their journey back to education, training or employment.

Bunni arrived at HITZ disillusioned with education believing there was no support for her to gain qualifications in a mainstream setting. She lacked self-esteem, self-worth and confidence. Her courage, alongside an understanding of the impact of asking for help, meant her life turned a corner and she secured an apprenticeship that could lead to fulltime employment.

Notes to Editors:

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s flagship education and employability programme, supporting young people to make positive changes in their life. Working with more than 2,000 14-24 year-olds across England every year, the programme uses rugby’s core values to develop the personal, life and employability skills of young people not in education, employment or training.  Supported by CVC, Wooden Spoon and East Head Impact, with Central YMCA as our Official Education Provider, HITZ is delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby’s 13 shareholder clubs and has supported over 21,000 young people since it started in 2008.

Premiership Rugby HITZ Programme Stats

  • 21,000 learners have engaged since HITZ launched in 2008
  • Around 2,000 young people become part of the HITZ family across England every year
  • 84% of participants have improved functional maths and English
  • Over 90% positively progress to further education, employment or training
  • 83% report an improvement in their personal, employability and life skills
  • 83% of HITZ participants express improvements in physical and mental wellbeing

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