Through a legacy project for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup later this year which will see three men’s games played at Saints’ Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens Borough Council committed to match fund £500,000 to a ‘Createdby’ RLWC2021 legacy funding pot as part of its role as a host venue and the RLWC team have recognised that support.
To date, the total value of national projects linked to Rugby League World Cup funding exceeds more than £12m, with many in the pipeline
Local clubs to benefit from the programme to date include Haresfinch ARLFC and Thatto Heath Crusaders – while St Helens Borough Council will use part of the money to invest in improving King George V playing fields in Haydock, home to Haydock Warriors ARLFC.
The project at Haresfinch ARLFC, delivered in partnership between RLWC2021, the Rugby Football League, Sport England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport – has delivered improvements to the first team pitch to enable better drainage, and the creation of a junior pitch. While the funding helped Thatto Heath Crusaders towards the installation of a new hybrid pitch, one of only a few in the country.
Meanwhile, plans are being drawn up for a makeover at King George V playing fields in Haydock which would significantly improve facilities for sports clubs and residents – as well as enhance security in the area.
Legacy funding totalling will contribute to the installation of spectator fencing around the rugby pitch to help Haydock Warriors grow as a club and achieve is ambitions.
St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, Labour Councillor Anthony Burns said: “By investing this money, we’re pledging to support local rugby league teams to help improve the facilities for grassroots players and hopefully influence the next generation of rugby league stars in a borough where rugby is more than just a game – it’s a way of life.
“This funding will also benefit our sports clubs and the communities they are at the heart of and we will be using this as a real opportunity to encourage people to think about helping out where they live and how they can make a difference to their own health, no matter how small a change towards a more active lifestyle.
“The Rugby League World Cup will be a truly transformational event for the sport of amateur rugby league in our borough.”
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive, RLWC2021, said: “The CreatedBy RLWC2021 Capital Grants Programme is focused on ensuring the next generation of rugby league players have the best possible experience and barriers to participate are removed. We are delighted to award this grant and look forward to seeing the results of this investment that aims to deliver real change in their community.”
Ralph Rimmer, Chief Executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “Hosting the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 offers so many opportunities for everyone involved in the game in this country and beyond, and the facilities that will be delivered by the CreatedBy RLWC2021 Capital Grants Programme will be a big part of that transformation. The RFL are proud to be involved in that process, and we congratulate all the successful applicants – and look forward to the impact of this unprecedented level of investment in the game for years to come.”
Charles Johnston, Property Director, Sport England, said: “We are proud to be working in partnership to deliver the biggest government investment into grassroots rugby league facilities the country has ever seen. With this funding, communities will gain better access to the facilities, improved infrastructure and essential equipment they need to be active. We are pleased the investment will provide benefit to people engaging in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair game, with a focus on those disadvantaged areas where inactivity levels are stubbornly high. By focusing our efforts on increasing participation in the game, we’re ensuring that the Rugby League World Cup’s legacy lasts long after the last ball has been kicked and the crowds have gone home.”
The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will kick off on 23 October 2021, with the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions taking place simultaneously, under one tournament banner for the first time.
Clubs, organisations and communities that run rugby league activities are encouraged to apply for this legacy funding by visiting www.rlwc2021.com/facilities