Cramlington Rockets RLFC is England’s most northerly rugby league club and has well over 200 members playing in teams from under eights through to senior level.
Its ethos of “Respect Commitment Fun” is built around giving everyone the chance to play the game, make new friends and develop new personal skills.
The speed at which player numbers are growing has created pressure on the amount of equipment available for members to use, but now, thanks to a £5,000 grant from The Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund, a whole new range of kit has been brought into the club.
The grant has been used to buy items ranging from training balls, bibs and medical kit through to tacklebags and shields, pitch markers and portable goals, and having recently started a new Rocket Tots programme for local five to seven year-olds, the club committee is hoping they’ll now be able to attract even more people along to give rugby league a try.
Founded in the year 2000 as Killingworth Rockets in an area where rugby league hadn’t previously had a presence, Cramlington Rockets RLFC is now a flagship club for Northumberland, and hosted a visit from members of the Widnes Vikings team as part of the recent Super League Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
Based at Cramlington Learning Village, the Rockets draw most of their members from across South East Northumberland, and as well as helping players develop their core rugby league skills, the club also provides facilities for strength and conditioning work which adds a further dimension to their player development work.
Chairman Jeff Ball says: “Northumberland and the North East aren’t traditionally areas where rugby league has ever had a strong foothold, but the enthusiasm we have for the sport these days is absolutely fantastic.
“The Rockets was originally set up to give young people in the area somewhere where they can keep active, stay healthy and make new friends. We refer a lot to The Rockets Family, which goes beyond just players and includes their parents and siblings too, and we think the positive impact we make on the community in terms of health and well-being, teamwork and personal development is clear for all to see.
“We’re proud of our flagship status for the county
, and it was fantastic to have the Widnes Vikings players with us recently, who provided some real inspiration for the junior players that they met and worked with.
“Equipment can be expensive, and we’ve always used everything we’ve got until it was absolutely beyond use, but with the growing numbers of players that have been joining us, things have begun to get rather stretched.
“The generous support that the Banks Group has provided gives us the resources we need to keep taking the rugby league message out across the community, and we’ll hopefully see even more players on the pitch during the present season and beyond.”
Banks Mining currently employs over 200 people across the Brenkley Lane and Shotton surface coal mines 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, adds: “Cramlington Rockets provides a fantastic blueprint for everything that a community sports club should be, and we’re very pleased to be helping to support the dedication of their coaches, players and the wider Rockets Family.”
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.