Graham Binns nominated for HITZ Champion Award

11 November 2021

Bath Rugby is pleased that Graham Binns has been recognised for his efforts and dedication to the Bath Rugby HITZ programme after being nominated for the HITZ Champion Award, supported by CVC Foundation.

Graham has been shortlisted alongside Robin Powell of Bristol Bears and Northampton Saints’ Jack Fleckney. 

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme which, with the help of its partners the CVC Foundation and Wooden Spoon, and official education partner SCL Education Group, works with more than 2,000 14–23-year-olds across England every year, and is delivered nationally by 13 Premiership Rugby Clubs. 

Using rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship, HITZ works to get young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment. 

The HITZ Champion Award is one of four awards celebrated annually and recognises special individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty to support HITZ participants. Support comes in many forms; helping young people from a chaotic background to build a better future; teaching the learners employability or money skills to increase confidence in their prospects; engaging with them outside of the HITZ classroom to help them improve their sporting, personal and social skills.

The shortlist

Graham Binns – Bath Rugby

Now retired, Binns supports participants with their reading and writing in addition to working through their emotional needs. His ‘Not Giving Up’ session received a standing ovation after he shared his life challenges. He also supports those on the programme by creating job applications and providing CV advice and interview tips. Coupled with all of this is Graham’s ability to see when students may be struggling, taking them aside to listen, coach and help them make a plan to overcome their biggest hurdles.

Robin Powell – Bristol Bears

Powell, Director at Molson Group, became involved with the HITZ programme to help young people understand that no matter what walk of life you come from, you have something to offer. He uses his company in Bristol to help students gain valuable work experience and real work opportunities and these genuine opportunities are impacting the life chances of many HITZ students. 

Jack Fleckney – Northampton Saints

At Northampton Saints, ex-marine Fleckney not only leads leadership, enrichment and team-building sessions for those on the programme, he also undertakes extreme physical challenges to fundraise money which will facilitate new classrooms and positive learning environment to support those who benefit from HITZ.

CVC Marketing and CSR Manager Jane Howard was among those who helped create the shortlist and said the work that all three men undertook was worthy of recognition.

She said: “These people are providing unique skills voluntarily, and it is critical to any young person’s learning, 

“Anything that gives them the skills to stand out in a crowd, whether it be social or technical skills, helps create an all-around good grounding in life. These volunteers and supporters are giving young people the kind of edge which they wouldn’t otherwise get.  

“Giving young people the tools but also the belief that they can do something great, and giving them the opportunities to progress, is impressive. They’re all helping with the signposting to employment, using their network and relationships and trusting these young people which is not something most people would do.”

The winners of all the HITZ awards will be announced on 17 November. #HITZAwards


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