FEATURE INTERVIEW | Ella Wyrwas
Ella Wyrwas spends most of her life at StoneX Stadium, but even she had to agree that a 6.30am start this morning was a bit too early.
Not that she minded as it was for a good cause – turning up to join her Saracens Women teammates to support England in the World Cup final in New Zealand. Her dream was to be there in person as part of the England squad, but her time will surely come!
“We decided to turn up en masse as a squad to support England in their World Cup bid, although it did seem a bit early. Then we heard that our coach Alex Austerberry was going to set-up a training sessions as well because we were all going to be together,” said Wyrwas.
“Even though we’ve had 19 players involved in the World Cup, we’ve still had a squad of players training really hard back home to prepare for the kick-off in the Allianz Premier15s next week. We’ve just got to know each other pretty well and the pre-season preparation has been fantastic.
“We’ll be able to drip feed the World Cup players back into the squad as we launch our defence of the title, and we all know how vital it is to get off to another good start.”
When she is not involved in training and playing at the StoneX, her day job is working for the Saracens Foundation as their disability officer. It is a role she adores and she is central to a team of 30+ that simply keeps on growing.
Since 2000, the Foundation has been working across Hertfordshire and North London with the aim of transforming lives on and off the pitch to build stronger communities. The goal is to work collaboratively to enhance the education, employability and health of those communities in order to build a stronger and more inclusive society for all.
The programmes on offer address specific social needs by encouraging increased participation in sport and physical activity. Wyrwas is heavily involved in breaking down barriers to participation for specific excluded groups, in developing interventions to address health issues and developing pathways into education and employment.
The latest addition to the team is George Cork, who is masterminding a new venture in gaming. His core focus is esports education.
“George came in this summer to set-up our new Gaming Hub in the new West Stand. It is an amazing new facility that is aimed at a new demographic,” she added.
“The West Stand is a hive of activity and the Gaming Hub is set up in what was the old media centre. It brings a real buzz to the stadium and offers everyone involved in the different elements of the club new opportunities.
“George is going to be using his courses as a new tool to potential employment people within our community from teenagers upwards.”
Wyrwas may have a target of winning the Premiers15s title once again this season – the ‘Women in Black’ kick off the defence of their title at home against Loughborough Lightning next weekend – but she is also fully invested in her job.
“Even though work at the Foundation has got busier and busier, it remains incredibly rewarding. Mine is a proper feel-good job and very heart-warming,” she said.
“We get a lot of people linked to our corporate partners who often come in to work alongside me for a day and they always say it is one of the most pleasurable things they do. They hate going back to their day jobs afterwards.”