Game-changing £2k grant boosts rugby in Hawick

October 3, 2016 | Birneyknowe News

Hawick PSA Rugby Football Club, the oldest semi-junior club in Scotland and an important institution for developing some of the Borders best rugby talent, has received a substantial grant.

The Banks Community Fund has awarded a £2,000 grant which provided essential equipment upgrades, housed at Hawick PSA’s Burnfoot playing fields.

It is hoped that the new equipment will help the historic club continue its development of professional rugby stars, many of whom pass through the Hawick RFC side, such as Scotland and British Lions star Stuart Hogg.

The facilities will be used from Hawick’s Under 15 teams through to the PSA (Under 18), while also being used by the local Burnfoot Primary School.

The much needed grant has been spent on a host of important equipment including water bottles, rucking shields, tackle bags, balls and first aid kits.

Club President, Ian Hair, said: “The PSA has provided a huge number of players for Hawick’s 1st XV and a number of these have gone on to represent Scotland and even the British Lions, with our most recent example being Stuart Hogg.

“Funding such as this is absolutely essential if Hawick PSA is to continue providing the opportunity for 16 – 18 year old boys to play rugby and the opportunity to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

“The Banks Group, through its community fund, has already shown a real commitment to supporting local sport and we are extremely grateful for its efforts to do so.”

Banks Community Fund is a charitable fund set up by the Banks Group, the Hamilton-based property and renewable energy business, which has supported a wide range of community projects from church hall repairs to community garden schemes with charities, youth groups and voluntary organisations all benefiting from it.

The firm is awaiting a decision on its Birneyknowe Wind Farm between Hawick and Bonchester Bridge, a development capable of driving significant investment into the area.

The purchase and arrival of the new equipment is scheduled to be completed ready for use by the end of the calendar year, so that the club still has a large part of the current season to benefit.

Jeannie Kielty, community engagement co-ordinator at the Banks Group, said: “The Banks Community Fund was set up to make a real difference in communities by helping support key community projects, initiatives and hubs.

“It’s clear that is the case here with Hawick PSA being such an institution and such an important feeder club to the big team. The access granted to the local primary school is also extremely important and helps promote that sense of community we are always keen to support.”

In addition to providing green energy, Banks Renewables strives to provide communities that host its wind farms with benefits that will make a meaningful, positive and lasting difference to the lives of those living closest to the sites – such as the support granted to Hawick PSA

Jeannie added: “Approval of Birneyknowe Wind Farm will open up great, long-term opportunities to provide funding to support local community and sports groups in the area.”

“The really exciting thing now is that on top of all the other significant benefits of Birneyknowe, we are now opening up the opportunity for the community to own a significant stake in the wind farm.

“The opportunity for a local community body to purchase up to 10% of the wind farm company would potentially deliver a further long term income stream that in turn can support many more community projects; and support the development and delivery of initiatives like the Flood Regeneration Plan in Hawick.

“I’m really keen to hear from any community groups interested in this opportunity, so that we can give them more information and put them in touch with local groups that are already considering the opportunity. A good start would be to email me at Jeannie.Kielty@banksgroup.co.uk

Help for communities interested in getting involved in community renewable energy is available from Local Energy Scotland. Lots of good case studies, details of the local area officer and more information about the help available can all be found on LES’s website (www.localenergyscotland.org/).

To find out more about the proposed Birneyknowe Wind Farm visit http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/birneyknowe/.

To support this important project that will bring investment, jobs and clean, green, renewable energy to the Scottish Borders Council, please go to http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/birneyknowe/ It only takes a few seconds.

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