“I’m proud to be able to support the work the Foundation and the HITZ programme does, and I’d encourage businesses and individuals who can sponsor a student to come forward and help change more young lives.”

The impact of the pandemic has not been equal across society. The poorest in our community have seen the worst effects in physical and mental health, education and employment opportunities.

Bath Rugby Foundation’s ‘Sponsor our Students’ scheme enables students the chance to gain qualifications and to take the step into employment.

Club captain Charlie Ewels, has recommitted to supporting this vital campaign for a second year, offering support to a HITZ student for the 2021/22 academic year.

Sponsorship gives participants on Bath Rugby Foundation’s award-winning HITZ programme the help they need to succeed. The funding helps to meet the individuals’ needs, which can range from training courses or smart interview clothes to food and the bus fare needed to attend HITZ.

Bath Rugby captain and England international Charlie Ewels said: “Every year we see the life-changing impact that the HITZ programme has on young people in and around Bath, but we know that this year it will be a vital lifeline to the youngsters feeling the effects of the pandemic.

HITZ is Bath Rugby Foundation’s employability programme for 16- to 19-year-olds who are considered NEET - not in employment, education or training. HITZ mixes sport with classroom-based learning and enables young adults who are in danger of falling through the net to look ahead at a brighter future.

Bath Rugby Foundation will have 60 learners starting HITZ courses in September and Bath Rugby’s charity is seeking 60 businesses or individuals, each contributing £600 to support them. Each participant will have specific needs and the money will meet those needs.

Bath Rugby Foundation CEO Lynne Fernquest said: “We are very grateful that Charlie has stepped forward to sponsor a student for a second year. This support will have a hugely positive impact.

“We know that there are some learners who struggle to complete the HITZ programme, simply because they do not have the bus fare needed to get to sessions.

“Too many participants are hungry when they arrive at Bath Rugby Foundation sessions. How can we expect young people to learn when they are hungry?

“This sponsorship will allow us to meet the specific needs of the individual learner, helping them take the next, positive step, either into employment or back into education.”

To learn more about Bath Rugby Foundation’s, ‘Sponsor Our Students’ scheme, and to help change the life of a vulnerable young person, please contact [email protected]