Warrington Wolves’ squad experienced a different training environment earlier this week when they visited HMYOI Hindley.
The full squad was introduced to a small group of Young People who were then put through their paces as the Wolves invited them to take part in a full training session; including a warm-up, skills tests and a series of drills before a game of touch rugby out on the field.
The Young People enjoyed the training session and the intensity of the game. They all learnt new skills and how to persevere to reach an end goal.
Paul Whittingham, Business and Partnerships Manager HMYOI Hindley, said: “HMYOI is keen to continue to work closely with our partners in the community. We were grateful for the opportunity to work with Warrington Wolves and this gives our young people an opportunity to engage in sporting activity and gain an understanding of some of the important aspects of being a successful sports person, including commitment, discipline, a structured regime and working effectively as part of a team. We have a clear focus on reducing re-offending and supporting young people to return back to the community better equipped to lead a more positive, law-abiding lifestyle and we would like to express our thanks to Warrington Wolves in supporting us to engage young people and working towards our aims.”
The younger members of the Wolves’ squad participated in a short question and answer session. The group shared and discussed their individual experiences. The Y.P.s talked about how they became to be inside and described what prison life is like, and the young Wolves gave an insight into their pathway through to a place at a professional club and the facilities and opportunities that are available should you strive towards an ultimate goal.
Hindley staff ended the morning by accompanying the Warrington squad around the prison cells and facilities to give the players an insight into what life is like for the young men they had been training alongside.
Micky Higham said: “It was a real eye-opener highlighting how you can take things for granted. Having spoken to the young lads it is often just one simple mistake that can land you up inside but there is then the other side of the scale too. We don’t know how lucky we are and I know I’ll look to keep my children on the straight and narrow. The lads seemed to really enjoy it and get a real buzz. Hopefully most of them will have seen it as an incentive to keep their heads down.
“We have also taken a lot out of it especially the younger players as it showed the importance of choices in life. We are in the spotlight as rugby players and that can be taken away from you very easily so it was a reality check which is good now and again as it puts things into perspective. It was an enjoyable experience and it was good to see the young people interacting with each other and us. It was something different and many of the Y.P.s were keen out in training and some showed some nice touches too.”
Young forward Glenn Riley added: “It was good to get them involved in our training as it’s something different for them. It also opened my eyes to the fact that it could happen to anyone; wrong place wrong time. Seeing the cells they stay in and hearing that they don’t get much freedom reiterated how much you don’t want to find yourself in there, in those situations. It put our job into perspective and will help us appreciate it more as young players. We had a chat with some of the Y.P.s and it is easy to get on the wrong track, we chose the right one and they wish they’d done the same. They just need to find something they like and stick at it now.”
Wolves’ player welfare and football manager Karl Fitzpatrick said: “On behalf of the players, coaching staff and club I would like to thank all the staff at Hindley for their hospitality. The experience was hugely beneficial to the players as they gained an insight into another section of society and having the opportunity to witness this first hand and hear real-life stories will hopefully make them appreciate the opportunity they have and value the chances presented to them. The Y.P.s were a credit to themselves and took on all the challenges presented to them, working hard and taking all our advice onboard. We hope that they will have taken away some valuable lessons from the session. At the Wolves we look to develop good people as well as good players and to step into a different environment like this will have helped instil into them the importance of life choices.”