Banks Group jumps through hoops for south east Northumberland basketball players

October 22, 2013 | Brenkley News

Increasing numbers of young people across south east Northumberland have been hitting the basketball court thanks to the support of a local employer.

A £5,855 grant given by The Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund, has enabled the Eagles Community Foundation to buy a range of new equipment which is being used in community basketball clubs and outreach activities in a number of locations in Blyth, Ashington and Ponteland.

The equipment, which includes balls, tactics boards, clocks, hoops and pumps, is helping to attract and retain an increasing number of players to the regular evening training sessions that the Foundation runs in the three towns, where well over 200 players in total aged from 12 through to adult level take part in the different sessions.

Between six and ten hours of training are offered at each venue every week, with the Banks funding enabling the range of equipment on offer to participants to be both widened and upgraded where required.

The Eagles Community Foundation is the charitable arm of the professional Newcastle Eagles basketball club, and aims to deliver a programme of outreach activities around the region in sport, health-related initiatives and education courses.

More than 10,000 people take part in some aspect of the Foundation’s outreach activities through the year, and it has been responsible for setting up more than a dozen community basketball clubs around the region, where local people with an interest in the sport are given the tools and help they need to set up and run their own local basketball group.

Deirdre Hayes, Eagles Community Foundation manager, says: “The community work that we do doesn’t just focus on basketball, but also covers wider issues such as healthy living, teamwork and personal skills development, and we’ve seen demand in south east Northumberland growing very quickly from players of all ages.

“Having access to the best equipment we can offer is crucial to both attracting and retaining players into our programmes, and it also helps us give our younger players a valuable sense of responsibility to take good care of the kit that they’re using every week.

“As a charity, all our resources go back into providing the best possible facilities and opportunities that we can, and the generous support that Banks has provided is enabling us to do more and better work in areas where there’s a real enthusiasm for what we do.”

The Banks Group has worked in south east Northumberland and north Newcastle for more than three decades, and has supported a wide range of community projects in and around the local area over many years.

The company has recently started a range of meetings with local people on its initial plans for the Highthorn Surface Mine, which would be located to the east of Widdrington Station, inland from Druridge Bay, and which would sustain over 150 local jobs for more than a decade.

It is also currently looking to secure planning permission for additional work at the Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines in south east Northumberland, at which around 200 people are currently employed and which contribute around £35m every year to the local economy through wages and the supply chain.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Group, adds: “The Eagles Community Foundation provides a wide range of terrific opportunities for people in south east Northumberland and Newcastle, and it’s very pleasing to see how our support is helping them extend and improve the work they’re doing in local communities.”

For more information on the Eagles Community Foundation outreach programme, please visit

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

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