Strong support for Parkhead & Wansbeck powersports from Banks Group

June 10, 2015 | Brenkley News

A community powersports club that has brought national and international events and sporting success to a Northumberland town has had a big lift from a regional employer.

Parkhead & Wansbeck Powersports offers a range of sporting opportunities to local young people from its base in the Hirst Welfare Centre in Ashington, including weightlifting, powerlifting, boxing and strength training for other sports.

The club is open to all young people, regardless of their age, gender, ability or disabilities, and as well as supporting their sporting ambitions, it aims to develop self-esteem, confidence and character in its 400 members through activities and achievements at every level.

Many of its members have gone on to achieve success at national and international powersports events, and it has also hosted high profile events for both able bodied and disabled athletes which have attracted competitors to the North East from dozens of countries around the world.

Parkhead & Wansbeck Powersports’ sporting and community accomplishments have now helped to attract a £800 grant from the Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund, to support the purchase of two new weights racks.

And Fred MacKenzie, who set up the club in 1999 and who still leads it today, is hoping the new equipment will help them make an even greater impact on their local community.

He says: “While we’re proud of the competition successes we’ve had over the years, the club’s greatest achievements are centred around the positive, long-lasting impact we have on young people who live in a community that suffers from high levels of deprivation and unemployment.

“Our approach gives local young people a real focus, helps them find positive ways to approach often difficult situations and shows them what the outcome of hard work and dedication can be.

“We’ve seen huge changes in attitude and expectation from many members after they’ve spent time with us which have helped them in their everyday lives, and have even used the numbers on the weights that we use to help one of them learn to count.”

Parkhead & Wansbeck Powersports has previously organised and run Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships, European Junior Championships and the World Masters Bench Press Championships, and it is now preparing to host a Four Nations event for athletes with special needs in October this year,

Fred MacKenzie continues: “We’re a very vibrant organisation that promote a strong and inclusive healthy living message to everyone that comes our way, and the new equipment that The Banks Group’s generous support has enabled us to buy will be very welcome and extremely well used.”

Banks Mining currently employs over 200 people across the Brenkley Lane and Shotton surface mine sites near Cramlington, which jointly contribute around £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments and the local supply chain, and which have also enabled Banks to donate around £800,000 to projects in Northumberland over the last decade alone through the Banks Community Fund.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, says: “The dual sporting and social achievements of Parkhead & Wansbeck Powersports provide a fantastic example of just how great an impact sport can have on local communities.  We’re very pleased to be supporting their inspirational work, and wish their members the best of luck in achieving their goals.”

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of both operational and proposed Banks Group projects.  Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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