Jason Robinson, the former Sale Sharks star who was part of England's 2003 Rugby World Cup winning side, inspired youngsters when he spoke of his own life story this week at Eccles Rugby Club.
It was part of the HITZ Salford programme, run by Sale Sharks Community Trust in conjunction with Premiership Rugby, which aims to help young people aged between 16 and 18, classified as NEET (Not In Education, Employment or Training).
The HITZ programme uses rugby's core values of teamwork, discipline, respect and sportsmanship to give young people the skills to get back into education, vocational training, apprenticeships and employment.
Jason told his story about growing up in Leeds and overcoming similar problems in his own life... "This is a fantastic programme which is close to my heart" he said "I have been through the challenges these young people face each day, and I know HITZ can help them to get the support they need, when they need it."
Tom Leader, Social Inclusion Manager at the Sale Sharks Community Trust, added: "We're so grateful to Jason for taking the time to come and visit our programme and learners. He has encountered plenty of challenges in his life – both professionally and personally – and, as he said to the learners, he gets what we and they are trying to achieve. That's fantastic for the learners because it helps them realise that they're not the only ones facing challenges."
The HITZ programme is part of a national scheme that uses rugby to increase young peoples' resilience, self-reliance and confidence to help them along a positive life path... "HITZ gives those with no hope new hope" state its organisers.
For more information on community programmes run by the Sale Sharks Community Trust, see www.salesharks.com/community