Trafford College Students try their hand at Wheelchair Rugby

Trafford College students got the chance to try their hand at wheelchair rugby earlier this week thanks to the College’s ongoing partnership with Sale Sharks and their successful HITZ programme.

Level1 sports students were joined by tutors and representatives from Sale Sharks Rugby Club, including award winning Social Inclusion Officer, Ian Fennell, at the College’s Altrincham campus.

Ian, who very recently won a prestigious award at the National HITZ Awards in London for going above and beyond the call of duty in his role with the HITZ programme, lead the session alongside colleagues Darren Lamont and Jo Edwards of Sale Sharks.

The HITZ programme tackles some of the greatest challenges facing young people today, including unemployment and disillusionment. Delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby and funded by 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.

Sale Sharks Community Trust teamed up with Trafford College to deliver a range of sport vocational qualifications and issue based lessons. Since starting the programme with the College, HITZ has already delivered football, rugby, kicking tennis, rounders and danish longball, alongside lessons based on financial management, employability skills and other sessions including first-aid qualifications.

The wheel chair rugby session is a project that allows disabled and non-disabled individuals to partake in fun and competitive sessions together. The main aim of the project is to create more inclusive opportunities for families, friends and students to partake in sporting opportunities together that may not have been previously possible.

Ian commented, “Our aim is to work with young people to promote inclusivity and diversity – promoting opportunities to all. We take a real interest in the lives of the young people that we work with – and that doesn’t stop when they go home or when they get job. It was great to see the students enjoying themselves so much today.”

Damian Harris, Curriculum Leader for Sports Studies added, “The HITZ programme has proven to be a fantastic opportunity for our learners to develop themselves beyond the classroom and achieve further qualifications. We are all excited to develop the partnership between Sale Sharks and Trafford College further over the coming years.”

Sport student, Cheryl Wilson, who took part in the challenge added, ‘It looked a bit scary at first but once I got involved it was fun and really easy to use the wheel chair. I enjoyed the involvement with everyone and it’s a great opportunity for inclusion, both for people who are disabled and able-bodied.”



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Trafford College is a leading provider of education and training in Greater Manchester. With a £50m investment in world-class facilities, an innovative approach to learning and exceptional links with some of the borough’s most significant employers, students are given a platform from which they can achieve their full potential.