Amateur rugby clubs are set to receive cash boosts because of Wigan Borough’s successful bid to be a World Cup host.
Money from the Rugby League World Cup’s (RWLC) CreatedBy legacy fund will help six teams with new facilities, kit and equipment.
It is hoped the initiative will create a legacy for the 2021 tournament by providing opportunities for young players to follow in the footsteps of their heroes.
An estimated 150 million people across 115 countries are predicted to watch both the male and female RLWCs with 32 squads of elite players arriving in the UK, as well as thousands of overseas supporters.
Leigh Sports Village will host three matches as part of the showpiece event, which will be held in October and November 2021.
Shevington Sharks is just one example of where the money is going with £200,000 earmarked for facilities available to the local community.
Steve Dillon, the club’s vice chairman, said everyone connected to the club is delighted to be chosen.
He said: “We thank everyone at RLWC21, Sport England and the RFL for all their time and effort in working with us to secure this funding. Having these superb facilities will certainly mean we will attract new players, volunteers and administrators into Rugby League.
“It will allow us to provide the local community, future new players and volunteers with purpose built new pitches and a community clubhouse that they can be proud of and we can call ‘home’.
“This funding will help provide a lasting legacy, that the local community can be proud of. It will also help us to drive Shevington Sharks forward on all fronts to provide a club that everyone is proud of.”
The club’s vice chairman is hopeful that construction of the joint venture project with Shevington FC will start in the new year.
It will be the next milestone since the borough’s bid was submitted in July 2018 in collaboration with other local authorities within Greater Manchester.
It was designed to highlight all that GM has to offer and to showcase how authorities can work together for the benefit of the city region.
Money will also be directed to other teams which are looking to revamp changing rooms and provide better equipment to improve training opportunities.
Leader of Wigan Council, Coun David Molyneux, said: “We are extremely excited to welcome teams and fans from across the world to Leigh Sports Village.
“The games are a fantastic opportunity to showcase our borough and we expect it provide a big boost for our local economy.
“Our team worked tirelessly in securing games for Leigh and once it was confirmed that we would be one of the Rugby League World Cup hosts, it was essential that the grassroots of the sport benefitted from the legacy of the tournament.
“Investment in our local teams is a vital component of securing this legacy and the money provided should mean that future generations of players are encouraged to take up the great sport.”
More than 1 million people are expected to attend the games over the five week tournament.
Tracy Power, legacy director of RLWC2021, added: “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 that community organisations in Wigan and Leigh have accessed the funding and look forward to seeing the results of this investment and the difference it makes to local communities.”
Other clubs benefitting from grants:
– Golborne High School: £2,268.77 for new kit and equipment to generate inter-school and after-school activity, with links to Golborne Parkside ARLFC.
– St Peter’s Pavilion Limited (parent club for Hindley ARLFC): £4,972.83 towards an innovative digital solution for signage at the club.
– Wigan Bulldogs ARLFC: £2,795 for kit and equipment to create a new cubs’ section for children aged 4 and above.
– Wigan St Cuthberts & Norley Hall Sports & Community Club: £11,000 towards renovation of their changing rooms in particular their showers, benches and lighting.
– Wigan St Judes ARLFC: £8,925 to modernise the club’s existing clubhouse which was built in 1984 and currently caters for 22 teams.