Banks Group hit the bullseye with Wood N Wheels grant

November 25, 2011 | Community News

A Teesdale-based charity that runs outdoor activity sessions for local community groups has added a new string to its bow thanks to a four-figure grant for archery equipment from a County Durham developer.

Based in Hamsterley Forest, Wood N Wheels has been providing fun outdoor activities for voluntary organisations, local schools and businesses for three years.

It offers a range of activities, including climbing, kayaking, overnight camping, orienteering and Nordic walking, and caters to any level of experience or ability.

The £5,000 grant from The Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund, has enabled the purchase of a full set of archery equipment, which is designed for use by all ages – and as well as being used on site, the new kit will also be taken out into other venues across the community when required.

Wood N Wheels began life as a cycle hire organisation and has evolved through the demand for a greater variety of outdoor activities from its visitors, who mostly come from Teesdale, Weardale and elsewhere in County Durham.

It differs from standard outward bound centres by providing a more relaxed and accessible outdoor experience within a safe environment, and as well as introducing and developing visitors’ enthusiasm for having fun outdoors, Wood N Wheels also aims to develop their self-esteem and team working abilities as well.

Local organisations that have benefitted from working with Wood n Wheels include Parkside Sports College in Willington and the successful EDDY (Engage, Divert and Develop Young People) youth programme, which is backed by Durham Police.

Martin Stout, manager at Wood N Wheels, says: “It’s always been an ambition of ours to add archery to the list of activities we offer, but without Banks’ help, we simply couldn’t have achieved it.

“Archery is something which provokes a bit of friendly rivalry and it’s great fun.  We’re not looking to uncover the next Olympic medallist, but we do aim to show how much fun outdoor activity can be and especially to children who currently spend a lot of time behind a computer games console.

“When visitors – especially younger ones – have little or no outdoor activity experience, they can find the prospect of taking on new tasks a little daunting, but by splitting the day into different activities and smaller groups, we find it becomes more manageable for everyone taking part.

“The new archery equipment is already proving very popular and means we can offer visitors of all ages an even more varied outdoor experience, whether on site or out in our local community.”

Banks Renewables recently put forward a planning application for the proposed Windy Bank wind farm, which would be situated on agricultural land between the village of Woodland and the southern edge of Hamsterley Forest.

If the wind farm is approved, around £12.5m would be invested by Banks in the scheme, with local firms being able to tender for contracts in the site preparation and construction phases of the scheme.

A community benefits fund would also run alongside the scheme, providing further funding for local community and environmental projects and voluntary groups during the lifetime of the wind farm in order to ensure that a positive long-term legacy results from its presence in the area.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, adds: “Wood N Wheels are doing a fantastic job bringing outdoor activities to people who may never have had the opportunity to experience them before – taking on the new challenges that they offer can be difficult, but doing so in such a supportive environment makes it so much easier for everyone.

“Our policy at Banks is to deliver tangible economic, social and environmental benefits to the communities in the vicinity of our development projects.  We’re very pleased to be supporting the ongoing community work and expansion of Wood N Wheels, and we hope this archery equipment enables them to provide years of fun and new experiences.”

Projects, community groups, or organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact Clare Johnson at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

Registered office: Inkerman House, St John's Road, Meadowfield, Durham, DH7 8XL

Registered in England number 2267400. VAT registration number 569 3236 14

© 2021 Banks Group. All rights reserved.