4 Oct 2022
Cramlington Rockets set to launch new era thanks to CreatedBy Funding
The Northumberland club have received £175,000 for clubhouse refurbishment
The pandemic forced the Rugby League World Cup 2021 to be postponed for a year but that change of date has helped launch an exciting new era at Cramlington Rockets.
Without the delay, the passionate North East club would not have been in a position to secure the £175,000 of funding from RLWC2021’s CreatedBy programme, in partnership with the Rugby Football League, Sport England, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as which is being used to revitalise the Eastfield Community Pavilion.
The refurbishment of the facility - transferred to the club by the local authority - is set to provide the Rockets with a top-class home while also serving as a thriving community hub which can help keep kids off the street in the deprived area of Eastfield.
“We would not have got this money if it hadn't been for Covid,” said Cramlington Rockets chair Jeffrey Ball. “We were not in a position to go ahead and make the application last year.
“The biggest silver lining of Covid is it's given us this opportunity to secure the World Cup funding, which allows us to be in the position we are now.
“It will provide a home for Cramlington Rockets and an accessible facility for the community that we're going to develop and hopefully expand in years to come.
“It will give people somewhere to use, belong to and somewhere to explore other activities rather than hanging around on the streets, which is something we're quite conscious about given it is a recognised area of antisocial behaviour by the police.”
Cramlington Rockets are on the verge of an exciting new era in Northumberland thanks to Rugby League World Cup 2021
The Rockets have around 200 playing members across eight sides but, boosted by the new infrastructure, are hoping to branch out and begin a female section too, with the women’s and wheelchair World Cups taking place alongside the men’s competition this autumn.
Ball added: “We are hoping to introduce girls next year with the new facilities.
“The facilities allow us to manage the space in terms of what is used in the building and when, so we are factoring in female changing rooms.”
Super League’s Magic Weekend arrived on Tyneside at St James’ Park in 2015 with the rugby league bonanza helping put the game and the club on the map in the North East.
The Rockets have ridden that wave over the last seven years, producing three of Championship side Newcastle Thunder’s first team squad, with the area increasingly becoming an area of strategic importance for the growth of the game.
And with the Rugby League World Cup 2021 coming to town, Ball is hoping the region can come to be regarded as one of rugby league’s traditional heartlands with some of the Rockets youngsters in line to be mascots at the opening game between England and Samoa at St James’ Park on October 15.
“My hope for the World Cup is that it allows us to take things to another level, and really cements it as an important part of the game,” said Ball.
“I would love if in years to come people say the North East is part of the heartlands of rugby league because of the World Cup.
“We’re under no illusion that the pull of Alan Shearer and all his football mates remains the biggest draw, as it is in many cities.
“We don't have an issue with that; we think that we offer something different. A lot of children like to try different sports rather than just one.
“Once they see us and understand what we offer, the values that we can provide and the discipline and opportunities like being mascots at World Cups, then that in itself is probably as attractive as any possibility of kicking a ball that's round.”
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