Phoenix Project wins Parliamentary Award

Representatives from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) have collected a parliamentary award for their part in a youth engagement project run by Bristol Rugby.

The Phoenix Project was set up by the club in 2007 to use rugby as a method of engaging with young people with the aim of reducing antisocial behaviour, including hoax calls and arson.

And last week the Bright Sparks programme was recognised at the Parliamentary Rugby Union Citizenship Awards, winning both the Social Inclusion Programme and the overall Community Initiative of the Year awards.

The Bright Sparks Programme takes place at designated secondary schools to address the link between persistent absence, exclusion from mainstream education and antisocial behaviour.

Judges from the all party group praised the scheme which they said emphasises the effects lifestyle choices can have in the future for young people.

Derek Wyatt MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group said: "This is the most sensational programme. It focuses on youth crime and antisocial behaviour, which are two very tricky areas to tackle. Their aims and objectives are really clear, well thought through and very targeted. It’s a very clean and simple programme, which is producing results. Bristol Rugby is solving something that we can’t do as a government, nor can local education authorities."

As a result of winning the overall award, the scheme will now be considered for the international Beyond Sport Awards which take place in Chicago.