Government to invest £10million in community clubs as part of RLWC2021 project

Drew Darbyshire

The government will invest £10million in local clubs and community projects as part of the RLWC2021 Facilities Legacy programme.

The government investment, delivered by Sport England, is part of RLWC2021’s plan to grow the sport and make it more visible, engaging and welcoming to current and potential participants.

The funding will be split into large transformational community projects, like refurbishing changing rooms and installing new artificial pitches.

The remainder of the funding will be used for smaller-scale initiatives such as supplying new kit or equipment to clubs.

All investment will focus on four key areas: creating welcoming environments, encouraging more players, building community engagement and cultivating further investment resulting in an innovation fund for the community game.

Rugby League World Cup 2021 chief executive, Jon Dutton, said: “In hosting this tournament it is imperative that we engage and inspire people.

“The facilities theme of our legacy programme is really focused on ensuring the next generation of rugby league players have the best possible experience and that barriers to participate are removed.

“The government funding must be used to leverage local match funding and all this investment will go directly into community rugby league. With a new Legacy Programme Manager set to be appointed along with staff to administer the funding, we’re confident that this programme will target the right areas and affect real change.

“The ‘Inspired by 2021’ legacy programme is a multi-dimensional project that will engage children and adults in a non-traditional way and proudly support the sport that’s at the heart of many communities.”

Minister for sport and civil society, Tracey Crouch, said: “Hosting the Rugby League World Cup is a huge opportunity to promote the sport. We want the tournament to leave a lasting legacy and inspire more people to take part.

“Excellent sports facilities are important in encouraging people to get involved and keep playing. This £10 million government investment will fund new equipment, improve local clubs, and help grow the game.”

Sport England’s property director, Charles Johnston, added: “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.”