The Get Onside Programme is once again approaching the exciting start of another cycle and we are excited about the opportunity to once again work with a group of young men who are looking to improve their life opportunities.
The programme this year will run for 8 weeks from the 6th March and build towards a presentation game where course participants will play a full 15 a side game of rugby at the end of the programme. This year we will look to involve more and more of our partners and volunteers from the Saracens network – over the 8 weeks we will welcome members of the supporters ‘Hundred Club’, volunteers from various departments within the Sport Foundation and wider company and even training ground staff.
As we have had good volunteer involvement in previous cycles, the challenge this year is to find a way to give those who come into the prison the power to have a longer lasting and sustainable impact on the lives of our participants. This year our ‘Through the Gate’ support will be even greater as we introduce a mechanism for our volunteers to mentor and maintain contact with the participants who they meet on the programme, giving them the ability to provide support both after the course whilst participants serve the remainder of their sentences as well as after their release.
The Get Onside programme to date proudly boasts a reoffending rate of just 10% - compared to the national average of 69%. This success has come along side interest from many parties including a number of MPs about how it might be rolled out to other prisons to benefit other institutions across the country. In order to support the possibilities of future development and scaling of the programme we have managed to work with Middlesex University to fund a researcher to conduct a study exploring the power of sport to affect reoffending rates within young offenders – this study will start with the upcoming programme and will allow us to learn, develop and strengthen our existing programme further as well as providing evidence and academic support to bolster any future moves to expand the delivery of the programme.
Thank you for your ongoing support for programmes such as Get Onside and others within the Saracens Sport Foundation.
Sarrie’s Skills Club
This month has seen the introduction of a new choice programme within Sarrie’s Skills Club which is designed to give the participants an element of choice in the activities that they undertake each week. This will hopefully enhance each participant’s verbal and social skills as they learn to become more independent in making choices. The new programme has also seen the introduction of some new game activities which participants play against one another to again further their social interaction skills. The first couple of weeks of the programme have been a great success with all participants interacting well with the new activities. Last week also saw the arrival of a new participant in the group who has integrated himself well within the group and is slowly starting to become confident in completing the skills activities.
Sarrie’s Track Club
The cold winter chill that still surrounds Allianz Park has not stopped our runners from turning up week after week to complete laps of our track with their ever-present buddy runners. Our participants continue to impress with their improved running distances with many of our participants starting to shed some of the Christmas pounds! This week was one of our track superstar’s Robbie’s 21st birthday! Robbie ran the marathon for the Foundation last year and continues to flourish in the track club atmosphere and inspire others around him to push themselves to reach similar achievements.
Sarrie’s RFC is well underway for the second half of the season. The members have carried on where we left off before Christmas and with 2 new members settling in well the club is once again moving from strength to strength in preparation for our end of season tour to Wasps on the 6th May. This year we have had some special visits from the Saracens first team squad with the likes of Chris Ashton, Jamie George, Jackson Wray and Will Fraser come down to support the programme in action at Allianz Park.
Paul Tanner, MD of Alan Day VW said, “It’s been such a success, it’s brilliant to see the development of the lads from week to week and have to have Chris (Ashton) come down to see the programme in action it is absolutely amazing”.
Chris Ashton mentioned what a glowing success the programme is, saying “I always love coming down on a Monday night, it is a brilliant set up here for young people with Autism, allowing them have a run around a blow their frustrations away”.
We have also expanded our volunteering network with forming a new relationship with Mill Hill School where around 15 sixth form students come down each week to give a helping hand to those who are less fortunate.
Follow us on Twitter for regular video updates of Sarrie’s RFC supported by our funders, Alan Day Volkswagen.
Strictly Sarrie is our disABILITY dance programme for teens, funded by BBC Children in Need. Our participants’ have autism, downs syndrome and cerebral palsy and join us every week to not only improve their dance skills, but social and interaction skills too.
At Christmas we went on our first offsite theatre trip, to support one of our participants performing in the Chickenshed Christmas Show, ‘Adventure to Oz’. We were all so excited to see her on stage and clapped and cheered throughout her performance. The staff were all so proud, not just of the performance, but of the rest of the group supporting her and sitting through the whole show so well. Parents were smiling and were relaxed as they saw all our participants having fun together and got to see the strong friendships made in our sessions, which is so important to them and us. We even met a star from EastEnders, which one participant was particularly excited about!
This is definitely going to be an annual trip and we hope to do more exciting things outside of our weekly dance sessions as our group becomes closer and stronger.
Athletics is at the basis of every sport. To run, jump or throw is fundamental across the board and an athletics background is apparent in so many sportsmen and women across the globe. At Saracens we are proud to be host to 2 growing Athletics clubs, the Little Athletics Programme (LAP) and the 1st Leg AC, covering ages 4-15. The clubs provide an exciting opportunity for young athletes to train in our indoor facilities here at Allianz Park, on the very same track imported from the London 2012 Olympics that athletes such as Mo Farah, Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis-Hill all used!
The clubs have been set up as part of a London wide initiative driven by England Athletics to deliver a grass roots legacy for athletics in the capital. We aim to sculpt the next generation of sports stars, taking on children that have never done any sport before and bringing them to a level where they have the opportunity to join and train with the top clubs in the country.
Every Tuesday & Thursday our athletes meet to not only focus on improving how fast or how far they can go but also, more importantly, on developing the technical skills on ‘how’ to go faster and further. Training alongside top British athletes and under fully qualified coaches these programs are already successfully providing the next stage of athletic development will continue to feed towards competing in the top division.