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How a young man overcame his mental health issues to be nominated for prestigious award

Romeece Dillon, a local hero from the Sale Sharks Foundation, has been shortlisted for the Young Achiever Award at the 2023 Premiership Rugby HITZ Awards. His inspiring journey is a testament to the life-changing impact of the HITZ program.
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A remarkable individual from the Sale Sharks Foundation, Romeece Dillon, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Young Achiever Award at the 2023 Premiership Rugby HITZ Awards.

The event is scheduled for November 22nd at Twickenham Stadium, where his incredible achievements on and off the rugby pitch will be celebrated.

The Power of Premiership Rugby’s HITZ Program

For the past 15 years, the Premiership Rugby HITZ program has been making a significant impact by supporting young people across England to make positive life changes.

This flagship education and employability initiative, which serves over 2,000 14–24-year-olds annually, instils rugby’s core values to develop essential personal, life, and employability skills.

These skills help young individuals return to education, training, apprenticeships, and employment, leading to life-changing outcomes.

Participants in the HITZ program learn within an environment that differs from mainstream education, focusing on core values like teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline, and sportsmanship. The results are truly transformative.

Romeece Dillon: A Story of Determination and Success

Romeece Dillon, hailing from the Sale Sharks Foundation, has been shortlisted for his inspiring journey marked by self-discipline, commitment, and immense courage.

He has defied all odds to enhance his own life and that of his fellow participants in the “HITZ family.”

Aimee Gray, Education Manager at Sale Sharks Foundation, expressed immense pride in Romeece’s achievement and acknowledged the dedicated team’s support that has made the HITZ program a success.

It not only positively impacts individuals but also uplifts the entire community.

Wayne Morris, Community & CSR Director at Premiership Rugby, congratulated all the shortlisted candidates for their remarkable achievements.

He highlighted the HITZ program’s remarkable 80% success rate in helping learners move forward positively, emphasizing the transformative power of rugby in changing lives.

Romeece Dillon’s Journey to Success

Romeece Dillon’s path to the Young Achiever Award has been marked by numerous challenges, including mental health struggles, a challenging home environment, and a turbulent educational journey.

Suffering from ADHD without receiving appropriate medication, Romeece was often misunderstood and frequently removed from classes, eventually leading to permanent exclusion and placement in a pupil referral unit.

In 2022, Romeece joined the HITZ program with his mother, seeking a “final chance” at education where his challenges would be understood and addressed.

Since enrolling, Romeece has worked tirelessly to manage his ADHD triggers and express his needs effectively.

This effort has resulted in Level 2 qualifications in both Maths and English, improved confidence, and self-worth.

Most notably, Romeece has secured a construction apprenticeship with Connolly LTD, a partner company with Sale Sharks HITZ, paving the way for his dream of owning a kitchen fitting business.

15 Years of HITZ Success

This season, the HITZ program celebrates its 15th anniversary.

What began in a field in Hackney in 2008 has grown into the education and employability program it is today.

With over 22,000 enrolments and an impressive 83% success rate in transitioning participants into education, employment, or training, HITZ has achieved remarkable milestones.

You can find out more about the HITZ program by clicking here

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