Ipswich Rugby's education hub has positive first year.

Left to right: Ben Renshaw, Tim Passmore, Roger Pierson and Jordan Letts

Left to right: Ben Renshaw, Tim Passmore, Roger Pierson and Jordan Letts - Credit: Suffolk Crime and Police Commissioners Office

Since starting last September, a new education hub has had a "positive" first year, helping young people back into full-time education.

Northampton Saints Foundation's Engage Hub launched at the start of the academic year to provide schools with an alternative provision.

The hub has been working alongside schools in Ipswich, to provide an alternative place for students that are disengaged, or at risk of youth crime, to go to.

The engagement hub is designed to help get students back into education

The engagement hub is designed to help get students back into education - Credit: Ben Renshaw

Ben Renshaw, engage manager for Ipswich, said: "Ipswich is in huge need of this sort of thing because the rates of students dropping out of schools and disengaging is increasing, which is a shame."

The hub has been working with nine schools in Ipswich for the last year, working with 20 children throughout the year.

It put three students, aged between 10 and 16, with one staff member, to build a stronger bond between adult and student. 

Ben Renshaw

Ben Renshaw - Credit: Ben Renshaw

Ben continued: "Students have come in and have really enjoyed the time they have spent with us.

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"We have had really positive feedback from schools, social workers and parents regarding how their child or student has been, either in school or at home."

Ipswich Rugby Club has helped by the group using their clubhouse, and the club letting them use the grounds and even donating a pool table from funds raised, for the students to play.

Staff: Finley Newman and Malachi Grant.

Staff at the engagement hub: Finley Newman and Malachi Grant. - Credit: Ben Renshaw

Tim Passmore, Suffolk police and crime commissioner, originally got in contact because the youth crime rate was going up in the town.

He said: "I have been really impressed by the work being carried out by Northampton Saints at Ipswich Rugby Club and pleased my office has been able to financially support this innovative project.

“I can see that reducing school exclusions and preventing youngsters descending into a life of crime, will lower demand on the police.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore - Credit: Charlotte Bond

“Whilst the project is still in its early days, I’m convinced most problems these young people are facing can be overcome.  I for one believe we should never write any young person off, in most cases a bit of investment – in both time and money – pays off.

“Well done and a huge thanks to all involved – you are making a real difference!”

The pool table that was donated by Ipswich Rugby Club to the education hub

The pool table that was donated by Ipswich Rugby Club to the education hub - Credit: Ben Renshaw