HITZ squad take part in Devon’s ‘Big Build’

Devon Big Build

Devon’s Big Build at Mayfield Chestnut Centre in Brixham

ON 1st May 2018, Roger Haywood, Regional Chairman, formally handed over one of our most interesting projects to date because we all rolled up our sleeves and made it happen ourselves! The project was made possible by combined funding of £25k from Wooden Spoon Devon and Rugbytots.

On 8th March, after an intense few months of planning and co-ordination, we brought together more than 30 volunteers to participate in the ‘one day, big build’ of a playground adventure trail at the Mayfield Chestnut Centre in Brixham. Volunteer builders on the day came from the HITZ squad at Exeter Chiefs led by Gareth Williams, Rugbytots and Wooden Spoon Devon. Even Spoony, the Wooden Spoon mascot came along to lend a hand and show support.

Devon Big Build

Exeter HITZ take part in Devon’s ‘Big Build’

The Chestnut is a centre for children aged 4 – 11 years who are experiencing complex social, emotional and mental health difficulties. The aim of the centre is to support children to be able to move back into mainstream education wherever possible.

HITZ is the Premiership Rugby Programme which works with over 2,000 14-18 year olds across England each year to improve education and employability among young adults not in education, employment or training (NEETs). HITZ learning academies are based at each premiership rugby club and use rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship to engage with the young people.

Wooden Spoon Devon felt this was the perfect project to work with the HITZ squad, offering them the chance to develop initiative and leadership skills, while delivering a much needed adventure trail to the school. Rugbytots also provided funding and two of their local leaders played their part in the build too.

Devon Big Build

Bright and fun Wooden Spoon colours on the trim trail,

The build was designed and managed by Fusion Community Initiatives, a company which specialises in team building with social impact. The big secret is that to achieve the one-day build, Fusion were onsite preparing for days beforehand – sshh! They endured snow, torrential rain, road closures and more but thankfully the day of the build was dry and sunny.

Everyone found it a long and challenging days with lots of hard work and lots of problems to be solved. The sense of achievement everyone felt at the end of the build made it all worthwhile. Throughout the day, children from the centre came out to check on progress and were obviously very excited at the prospect of their new playground trail. Wooden Spoon colours were even used to paint some of the structure, making it bright and fun. It was a great chance to learn new skills, meet new people and be part of a meaningful project for everyone involved.

Take a look at our short film from the day: