Budding young rugby league players at a West Yorkshire community club will be looking smart for their new season thanks to a four-figure grant from a renewable energy firm.
Kippax Welfare JARFC has used a £1,000 grant from Banks Renewables, given via the Banks Community Fund, to buy new training tops for its under sixes squad and new playing tops for its under eights.
The club runs junior teams at almost every level from under sixes through to under 18s and has around 25 players in each age group squad, with boys and girls playing in mixed teams up to secondary school age.
It draws its players from the surrounding communities of Kippax, Allerton Bywater, Methley and Mickletown, and in normal times, offers indoor and outdoor training sessions all year round, with the playing season running between April and October.
Chris Longfellow, who coaches the Kippax under sixes, says: “The focus for our younger sides is all about skills development, ball handling and enjoying the game, and the enthusiasm all our players show is fantastic to see.
“Most of our youngest recruits have obviously never played the game before and don’t have the kit they need to play it to begin with.
“While this is never a barrier to new players joining us, having matching training and playing kit which they’ll be able to use for a good couple of years will really help everyone feel like they belong to a team and will be great for morale.
“Finding funding for this sort of purchase is difficult at the moment, and while we’ve been doing our own fundraising wherever we can, being given this generous grant by Banks Renewables means a lot to our players and the club as a whole.
“It’s been frustrating not being able to get out onto the playing field so far this year, but all the kids are excited to get their new kit and can’t wait to get the chance to play in it.”
Banks Renewables owns and operates the nearby Hook Moor wind farm and is also the company behind the proposed Barnsdale Solar Energy Park, which would include solar panels covering an area of around 50 hectares of south-facing land between Kippax and Allerton Bywater and would be able to produce enough energy to meet the annual requirements of up to 12,000 family homes.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “With its focus on inclusion, skills development and enjoyment, Kippax Welfare is a fantastic example of everything that a community sports club should be and we’re very pleased to be supporting its ambition to offer as much as it can to its young players.
“As a developer that is investing in several renewable energy and property projects cross Yorkshire, as well as in our own presence in Leeds, our policy is to support eligible projects in the communities that host our developments through our community fund.”
Anyone from a community close to a Banks Group project who is interested in applying for funding from the Banks Community Fund should first contact the fund manager via email@example.com or on 0191 378 6342 before applying for a grant to check if their group or project is eligible.