Charity supported by rugby giants Scott Quinnell, Will Greenwood MBE, Brian Moore & HRH Prince Harry, heads to Wales to open a new chapter
The School of Hard Knocks – a charity that uses rugby and boxing, to tackle social exclusion by getting unemployed people back into work – has opened up in Wales.
The charity is aiming to find jobs for at least 50% of those joining its programme and helping 90% of its school joiners to stay on in school by its self imposed deadline of September 2017; to be self sustaining in Wales by September 2017; and to assist no fewer than 500 beneficiaries a year.
SOHK Wales will be headed by Catryn Grundy, Programmes Director, Cymru. One of her team is brilliant local success story, Liam Mackay, who turned his life round with SOHK help and landed a job with Arriva Trains before returning to SOHK as a full time coach, helping others to take the journey he has taken.
SOHK Ambassadors include rugby giants Brian Moore, Will Greenwood MBE and Wales and British & Irish Lions Legend Scott Quinnell. HRH Price Harry is also a keen supporter, attending SOHK training matches and taking part in training games.
For the past nine years School of Hard Knocks has been shadowed and filmed by Sky Sports for an ongoing TV series featuring Will Greenwood MBE and Scott Quinnell. The programme takes 40 unemployed men, most of whom have never played rugby before, to form a competitive team. The players are also given the opportunity to attend a special jobs fair after their 8 weeks of training.
At the heart of this four-year-old charity – which uses rugby and boxing to get unemployed people back into work – is a belief in tough love. Jack Lewars, Director of Operations at SOHK, says: “if what we teach is bought into by participants, then the self respect, self belief, teamwork and discipline learned can and does lead to at least 50% of those that stay the eight week course finding jobs. You might say that what we do is take people out of hopelessness via sport and give them a life.”
This is why money and support is flowing into SOHK from wealthy private individuals, from companies and from the Government and from the Royals too.
SOHK is the brainchild of Ken Cowen, a teacher by training, who found that a few sessions on a rugby pitch in Liverpool was the surest way of instilling some discipline and control into tearaway pupils about to be excluded from school.
SOHK is helping many desperate people to get off the sidelines of life and turn the job market into something that looks less like a scrum with a little help from the Royals, bankers, corporates and many private individuals who see that rugby can be so much more than a game. http://schoolofhardknocks.org.uk/