Hitz has been honoured by being named the best Community Programme Award at Sport Industry Awards 2012.
The programme is run in partnership with Premiership Rugby, the Rugby Football Union, the Metropolitan Police, Active Communities Network, the Mayor’s Office, the Rugby Football Foundation and rugby charity Wooden Spoon and is delivered by the Premiership Rugby clubs. It targets young people at risk of anti-social behaviour and exclusion from school.
After making a shortlist that included programmes from Tottenham Hotspur, RBS, BSKyB, Premier League, Football Foundation and Barclays and British Cycling, Hitz triumphed at a star-studded ceremony attended by 1,750 key figures from the world of sport, including a huge number of high-profile media, entertainment and sporting celebrities alongside the most influential figures in British and European sport.
Nick Keller, the Chairman of the Sport Industry Group paid tribute to the programme which is managed by former England captain Helen Clayton.
Premiership Rugby is hoping for a unique double to be completed in July as they have been shortlisted for the best Federation or Governing Body of the Year at the worldwide Beyond Sport Awards which would ensure a stellar year for the umbrella organisation of the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs.
"It is well recognised that sport can have a hugely positive impact on communities, and rugby has a particular role to play in the crucial area of excluded youth,” said Keller.
“Hitz is a standout example of best practice - a fact not only acknowledged within the UK, as demonstrated by its success at the Sport Industry Awards, but also globally through its nomination for the Beyond Sport Awards.”
Hitz, based in the heart of the toughest inner city areas, introduces young people to rugby, helping build confidence and respect, whilst inspiring players of the future. It also identifies opportunities for apprenticeships, as well as workshops, training and education programmes for young people. This month Hitz registered its 1000th participant.
The very best work that the industry produced across 2011 was rewarded at the Sport Industry Awards ceremony, with the winners of each category announced following an extensive judging process involving more than 40 key figures from across the industry and 50 hours of intensive judging – fully overseen by Deloitte, the Official Independent Scrutineer of the Sport Industry Awards.
Wayne Morris, Head of Community at Premiership Rugby, said “Hitz has been running in the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Croydon, Ealing, Hackney, Hounslow, Islington, Newham, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Southwark and we’re seeing some great results.
“This award demonstrates the impressive work being done by the programme, inspiring a generation of young people.”
Sally Pettipher, Campaign Director at the RFU said “HITZ constantly shows its value in the way young people on the programme are stepping up to the mark and making positive life changing decisions. Rugby union has the ability to do this through its Core Values – Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship.”
The winners of the Sport Industry Awards 2012 were unveiled on 2nd May at a glittering ceremony in London.