October 3, 2014 | Community News
Young players at a South Yorkshire community football club are looking forward to a brighter future after a four-figure grant from a renewable energy firm paid for the equipment they needed to stay at their home ground.
After forming two teams from a squad of around 30 local youngsters last year, Barnburgh & Harlington Junior Football Club faced having to find a new place to play if they couldn’t raise the money to buy the new goal posts, nets and corner posts they needed for matches played in the Doncaster & District Junior Football League to be played at their Hickleton Road, Barnburgh ground.
But thanks to a £3,360 donation from Banks Renewables, the essential equipment was purchased and put in place in time for the start of the new season.
Banks operates the Marr wind farm, which sits to the west of junction 37 of the A1M, around half a mile from the football club’s ground, and their donation has come from the Marr community benefits fund, which will see part of the revenues generated by the wind farm used by Banks to fund a range of community and environmental improvements right through its lifetime in partnership with local people.
The volunteer-run club maintains the pitch and surrounding playing areas of the Hickleton Road ground where they train and play in return for being allowed to use it by Hickleton Parish Council free of charge
And having secured its future at the ground, the club committee is now hoping to attract more coaches and helpers into the club, so they add more age groups to the U12s and U16s sides that they currently run.
Nick Ryall, manager of Barnburgh & Harlington JFCs U15 side, says: “The club is about more than just learning about and playing football – the kids are learning about teamwork, discipline, fitness, responsibility and communication every week, and it helps them develop as people as well as players.
“There was no way we’d have been able to afford to buy the equipment we needed ourselves, and without it, we wouldn’t have been able to fulfil our league fixtures, so we’d either have had to find somewhere else to play or disband completely, which would have been a huge disappointment for everyone involved.
“Banks’ generous support has given us a real boost for the new season, and we hope it will be the catalyst to enable us to get more junior teams going in the future.
“We’ve got a great bunch of local lads playing for us, and we know there’s an appetite amongst other kids across local communities to start playing here too, but we need more coaches and helpers to get involved to make this possible, and we’d love to think that we could do that this season.”
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Renewables, adds: “Maintaining and improving facilities across the communities around the Marr site is what the wind farm community fund is all about, and it’s great to see revenues from the renewable energy we’re generating here having such a positive direct impact on the lives of local young people.
“Our aim is to deliver long-lasting economic, social and environmental benefits to the communities in and around the areas in which we operate, and the funding for local projects that we’ve been able to deliver so far is just the beginning of the story.”
Any community groups in Marr, Hickleton, Barnburgh or Harlington that are interested in applying for funding from the Marr community benefits fund can find out more information about doing so by contacting James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.