Get Onside

‘‘We were like a family, not prisoners, it gives me hope for a solid future’’

How the course works?

Over an 8-week course of practical rugby sessions and a classroom curriculum focusing on employability and life skills, 20 young men undergo profound changes in their outlook, attitude and behaviour whilst serving a prison sentence. They become part of a team that displays honesty, humility and discipline. As one ex-participant said, ‘‘We were like a family, not prisoners, it gives me hope for a solid future’’. The course culminates in a game against an external team who train and play together regularly, with families and friends attending, and regardless of the result, we see the young men walk off the pitch looking inches taller than when they walked onto it.  As another participant put it after a recent match, “If we can achieve that in 8 weeks, imagine what we can achieve in the future’’.

What happens after the course?

Beneficiaries are given the support of the Saracens Foundation for as long as needed

The course is delivered twice a year to 40 young men at YOI Feltham and twice a year to 40 adult offenders at HMP The Mount, with time between courses focusing on one-to-one resettlement support delivered by our highly skilled volunteer project mentors to support the men in their return to the community following release from prison.

Get Onside’s mentor model is centred on a meaningful relationship between participant and mentor, beginning in prison and lasting as long as it takes. This is new territory for most of our participants – a consistent, non-judgemental relationship with someone who is there for them when they need it, helping them navigate the chaos of their transition back into society. ‘’You made us feel like normal people again and more importantly a part of Saracens’’, Simon, ex-participant. The form that our support takes varies with each participant but includes the same three core stages – in prison, in work, in the community. Our aim is to keep our beneficiaries on a consistent path towards a life they can proud of.

“I’ve come to realise that I’m worth more than what I’ve been previously labelled.. It’s opened my eyes to the fact that there’s more to life than just a prison cell.”

Get Onside – Feltham is co-funded by The Portal Trust and our Project Partners – BNP Paribas.

Get Onside – The Mount is funded by our Principal Partners – City Index