Get Onside is Back!
The Saracens Foundation ‘Get Onside’ project uses rugby as a means of social rehabilitation.
The project is delivered in two prisons, to young offenders in HMYOI Feltham and to adult men in HMP The Mount with the aim of reducing reoffending rates and providing employment opportunities to our participants post release.
Our latest figures suggest that the ‘Get Onside’ graduates have a re-offending rate of just 15% compared to the national average, 64%.
On average it costs £43,000 per annum to keep an offender in prison. If, as a result of our course impact, 30 offenders do not re-offend we can save the taxpayer £1.29m per year.
More than money though, the project is truly changing lives. Participants who have successfully completed the course and returned to society have gone back to employment or education, and often want to continue contributing to preventing people from pursuing a life in crime.
Most stay in contact with Saracens Foundation and take part in our annual “Mean Machine” game, where a Barbarians style team made up of the Foundation and the released prisoners take on a team made up of the prison officers from HMP The Mount and HMYOI Feltham. This is something truly worth witnessing!
During each of our eight weeks courses, participants get the opportunity to go from ‘zero to hero’ as the overwhelming majority have never touched a rugby ball before and eight weeks later play a full contact game of rugby against an external team held within the prison grounds.
Along the way, the participants take part in a series of workshops where we discuss the values rugby has to offer, headlined by Saracens core values of Discipline, Honesty, Humility and Work Rate. We discuss personal responsibility, accountability and social capital, as well as giving back to the community and how to intervene with the at-risk members of the younger generation to prevent them following a similar path into anti-social behaviour and crime.
Both projects are supported by our foundation corporate partners. Our principal partner, StoneX and City Index champion ‘Get Onside’ The Mount help to organize and participate in a touch rugby tournament held within the prison. BNP Paribas, who fund ‘Get Onside’ Feltham help run workshops and mentoring sessions. Meanwhile, Randstad UK support the participants with their employability skills, helping them to build their CVs and develop interview skills.
The ‘Get Onside’ project, like so much of our work, was adversely affected by the pandemic. Adaptations such as ‘Lockdown Letters’ and ‘The Get Onside Podcast’ enabled us to continue to reach out and support our beneficiaries. However, we are delighted to be back delivering the project face-to face and we have recently started a brand new course at The Mount which is scheduled to culminate in a final game on 11th December 2021.