The most obvious topic choice for this week would be that of Allianz Park. But so much has been written about Sarries’ new home over the previous weeks and months that there was nothing more to be added - there is an incredible feel about the place and one that will hopefully become a fortress for the Men in Black in games to come. With this in mind, my attention turned to a visit I made to the ‘Hitz’ project, run by Saracens, just over a fortnight ago.
For those who are not familiar with the scheme, it is a social project aimed at those at risk of exclusion and anti-social behaviour using rugby to change the behaviour of, inspire and create opportunities for disadvantaged young people aged 11 to 19.
Each Premiership club has a scheme similar in nature with the schemes being run by Sarries being situated in the North of the capital.
What struck me most about the project was the sheer passion of everyone involved - the coaches as well as those participating.
It was just a group of people playing rugby and loving every minute of it, something that can sometimes be lost in the age of professionalism.
However, this project is about so much more than just the rugby. It has the ability to change people’s lives, it may sound cliché but it is very much the truth.
The project is surrounded by individuals with success stories, whether they are in the sport itself or personal development. It is about the growth of people, giving them the tools to tackle life’s challenges and better themselves.
The coaches on the project are more than just there to deliver sessions on skills, they become mentors and friends to the participants. Something that was very evident just from the small amount of time I spend observing the work they carry out.
For young people, authority figures often become the enemy, but there was no hint of that at all, everybody welcomed each other with open arms, regardless of who they were.
Barriers that had been reinforced throughout their lives and experiences were finally being broken down.
The Saracens community team are award winning, and while visiting the project in action it is easy to see why. They quietly but successfully go about their work, often without praise, and the work they carry out with the Hitz project barely scratches the surface.
Hopefully Allianz Park will be able to provide the team with a stable home but which also allows the club to continue the amazing work they do with young people being inspired and helped along the way.