Gavin Hastings Officially Launches SOHK in Scotland


Gavin Hastings Officially Launches SOHK in Scotland


Celebrity sportspeople support ‘School of Hard Knocks’ official launch in Scotland to help tackle issues surrounding unemployment, crime and health

Gavin Hastings hosts launch of ground-breaking social inclusion charity – documented on Sky Sports since 2007 – that plans to change the lives of 200 adults and 100 school children in Scotland in 2018.

[Monday, 6 November 2017: Edinburgh] School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) – the ground-breaking social inclusion charity that changes lives by reengaging people in education and employment through sport – has launched in Scotland with the help of former Scotland International Rugby captain Gavin Hastings, Current Scotland International Rugby Womens’ Captain Lisa Martin and Olympic Silver Medalist Mark Bennett.

The charity – which has been the subject of a Sky Sports documentary series since 2007 – has trialled initiatives in Scotland for the past two years, before taking the decision to expand its activities countrywide in 2018. It now has ambitious plans to change the lives of 200 adults and 100 school children in Scotland next year.

Rosanna Innes, Programme Manager of SOHK Scotland, said: “We’re a small team, with some very big ambitions to get people back into education and employment in Scotland throughout 2018 and beyond. We work with men and women who have been trapped in long-term unemployment and emotionally challenging situations. We run separate courses for children who are struggling to adapt to a school setting and see their own amazing strengths. The support we’ve received so far from Scottish rugby clubs, the Job Centre and many others is so welcome, as we have so much more to do.”

Long term supporter Gavin Hastings launched the charity at a celebrity studded event at Edinburgh’s The Glasshouse Hotel on the 25th October. Guests including Scottish sports stars, MSPs and senior business people, heard emotional accounts from former participants in the programme about the life-changing impact of the SOHK’s initiatives, both for themselves and their families.

The former Scotland Rugby and British Lions Captain (Gavin Hastings) said: “Rugby, has played a huge part in my life, but before I got involved with SOHK, I could not have imagined the potential it has to rekindle hope, and transform the fortunes of people in real need. I have seen first-hand the magical way this charity helps people grow in confidence and self-respect, take responsibility for their lives and believe in their potential again. ”

Maree Todd, Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish National Party said: “Despite the last official figures in 2014 showing a huge decline in the number of people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETS) in Scotland, a substantial need for support still exists amongst this group. The ground-breaking role SOHK is playing in helping to create better futures for some of the hardest-to-reach people in our community deserves all our support. Rugby is a game which I am passionate about, not least because of the strong values at the heart of the sport: teamwork, discipline and respect. These values are healthy life values too. It’s an enriching experience to be part of a team and I am delighted that SOHK is helping to change lives in this way.

 Ken Cowen, CEO and Founder of SOHK said at the event: “The men, women and children that create better futures for themselves through SOHK are the real heroes of their own stories. It is so encouraging to hear their words and a great reminder that real ‘empowerment’ is an essential ingredient of what we are all about.”

-Track-record of success in Scotland-

 Since the establishment of fully comprehensive Scotland team in March 2017 it has continually delivered programmes across both West and East Scotland – reaching more than 140 unemployed adults between 1st March and its official launch. Its first Edinburgh course graduated on 25th June 2017 and an impressive 85% of participants (20) found full time work, within six weeks, as a result of taking part. Four moved from temporary to permanent accommodation, four joined training courses, four now volunteer and eleven joined a local rugby club.

In 2018, SOHK hoped to deliver 12 eight-week programmes in Scotland in partnership with local rugby clubs and to deliver, weekly, with groups at 5 Scottish schools.



 Charline, a SOHK graduate from Glasgow told the audience: “I thought that 2017 would be the year I got clean, and it has been, but thanks to SOHK I have actually had so much more than that, I’ve had a second chance at life”.


Natalie, another graduate from Edinburgh, said: “When I started SOHK I didn’t have a job at all. I was literally a human sloth and my family thought it was hilarious that I was playing rugby. But this morning I had my fourth job offer and I have joined my local womens’ rugby team.”



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