Sale Sharks’ Social Inclusion Officer Ian Fennell is celebrating after winning a prestigious national award for going ‘above and beyond the call of duty.’
Ian, who is the Social Inclusion Officer for HITZ Partington, picked up the award at the national HITZ Awards at Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf, on Minday, November 28.
Delivered across the North West by the award-winning Sale Sharks Community Trust, HITZ uses rugby to increase young peoples’ resilience, self-reliance and confidence.
The HITZ Champion award, which is supported by Comic Relief, recognises an individual who has helped a participant overcome their personal barriers.
Ian was nominated after helping 18-year-old Claudette Rennalls, from Partington, Manchester, overcome anger issues that had affected her education since the death of her father.
He also worked tirelessly to improve her confidence, provided one-to-one support and helped her find full time work, which led to her securing a full-time retail job.
“This is much more than just a job to me,” Ian, from Longsight, Manchester, said. “We take a real interest in the lives of the young people that we work with – and that doesn’t stop when they go home or when they get job.
“Claudette has worked so hard to improve her confidence and to see her now in full-time work is immensely rewarding.
“I’m incredibly proud to win this award and I look forward to carrying on the great work of HITZ across the North West.”
Jonny Acheson, Head of Community Operations at Sale Sharks Community Trust, added: “This award is fantastic recognition for Ian and the work that he does.
“He consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty for our learners. The evidence is in the lives of people like Claudette, who have really benefited from his help.
“We’re incredibly proud to be helping young people across the North West region through programmes like Hitz that really make a positive and lasting difference to local communities.”
Two other HITZ learners were also shortlisted for an award at the ceremony.
Joe Benson, from HITZ Leigh, was nominated for the Young Achiever award after he landed an apprenticeship as a chef following 18 months out of education, employment or training.
He now works long hours and has big plans to forge a career in the culinary industry.
Callum Walker, from HITZ Salford, was also one of three finalists shortlisted for the HITZ Community Impact award, which is all about the time and commitment given by a HITZ young person through volunteering.
Callum was shortlisted after securing a work experience placement at an animal care charity where he continued to volunteer twice per week.