Work in Prisons

GET ONSIDE

Sport has got the ability to make a difference in people’s lives that goes well beyond the sporting field. It can provide the platform for development of essential life skills including resilience, self-confidence, ambition, discipline.

At Saracens Sport Foundation, we work to provide this platform to those who have been marginalised from society and could potentially gain the most from sport.

Through our Get Onside project we aim to bring these benefits to those who are currently serving prison sentences, providing opportunities for offenders to participate in sport. We are able harness the power of sport to develop those life skills which will help address the challenges that are faced both during their sentence and on release from prison.

Get Onside, which currently runs in HMP Feltham Young Offenders Institute, has been successful in changing the lives of our course participants. Whilst the national average reoffending rate is soaring, Get Onside has seen just 15% of its graduates reoffend (since the programme launched in 2011).

Over the 8-week programme, we introduce rugby to young offenders who have never, or rarely, played the sport before and build towards a full contact game against an external team.Along the way, participants manage and run a Touch Rugby tournament with some of Saracens’ corporate partners. They engage and work with mentors, as well as completing classroom sessions focussing on the values and life skills that can be drawn from rugby e.g. conflict management, positive reaction to pressure, controlling aggression.

Following the course, we aim to work with all course graduates and support their transition into education, employment and training, as well as providing support when facing the many challenges they may encounter on leaving prison.

The success of the Get Onside programme comes from the values that are instilled in the rugby sessions from the very first day of the course. The fact that very few of the participants have ever played rugby before the course means that there is a group dynamic of learning and developing as a team. These skills are then transferable into life off the field and set a foundation to create and maximise opportunities as they are released.

Owing to the continued success of our work within HMYOI Feltham, we have taken the decision to widen our Get Onside programme to include an adult male establishment for the first time. We will be commencing an eight-week course at HMP The Mount from February, aiming to replicate our successes in Feltham and improve the life opportunities and reduce reoffending of adults

If you are reading this and are from the prison service and would like to get in touch about our course, please email Sam Cload at samcload@saracens.net

If you are reading this and would like further information about our work in prisons, please contact Sam Cload at samcload@saracens.net

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