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Sport England grant for York Acorn ARLC
YORK Acorn ARLC chairman Mick Lumby reckons junior rugby league throughout the city is set to benefit from a Sport England grant to the Thanet Road club.
Acorn are one of a few sports clubs in York – and one of only 60 throughout in the country – to win a cash boost from Sport England in the latest round of grants, with £50,000 going towards plans to redevelop land at Thanet Road into dedicated junior playing and training facilities.
The work, to rip out the old artificial surface at the site, create a pitch of junior rugby proportions, and re-seed further floodlit land so it can hold training for all ages and stage matches for juniors, is likely to begin next spring, and should be completed by the end of 2014. The redevelopment concerns about four acres of the club’s nine and a half acres of land.
Lumby said: “This will help junior rugby league across the city to have these facilities. It really is great for Acorn as a club to have won this award.
“We need to target junior rugby league. We’ve been successful in the past at junior level, which is a big reason why our senior team now play in the premier division (of amateur rugby league’s foremost league), as those juniors have come through.
“We’ve just started an under-8s team and we now have teams at almost every age group.
“We’re trying to keep that success going and this development and these new facilities will be a big help.”
The Acorn club itself and City of York Council each put £15,000 into the project, though it would have been impossible without the Sport England grant.
Lumby added: “It’s come through the good work of people like Alan Havercroft (Acorn’s junior secretary) and Nick Settle (formerly the Rugby Football League’s co-ordinator for North Yorkshire, working out of City of York Council), who put a lot of time and effort into getting this major award.”
Havercroft himself thanked the council for their assistance and financial help.
He added: “It’s taken us two years to get to this stage. There was debate about what to do with the all-weather pitch.
“It was handy when we were playing winter rugby but now we’ve moved to summer it’s not ideal and it means we have limited space for training, made more difficult given we now have ten age groups.
“We looked at getting a modern all-weather surface but that would cost about £750,000 and would leave us with little useful area around it.
“We got consultants in and submitted this application, which gives us so much more space.”
Acorn’s new “emerging 8s” squad, for U6s, U7s and U8s, adds to teams at U9s, U10s, U12s, U13s, U14s, U15s, U16s and U18s level. There are also two senior teams.
The club want to add an U11s team next year, and are proposing to go into local primary schools, working alongside York City Knights and Leeds Rhinos, to promote junior rugby league and boost numbers playing the game.
The next plan is to raise £30,000 to floodlight the new junior pitch and the main senior pitch.
Havercroft added: “We’ve got a lot of ambition and quite a few plans.”
• YORK Acorn ARLC pair Adam Endersby and Joe Porter helped the England Lions to a comprehensive victory in their opening amateur Home Nations encounter.
The Lions beat Ireland ‘A’ 52-0 in Hemel with the Acorn pair excelling.
Endersby, 31, was recalled to international rugby league after a six-year hiatus, while Porter, 20, also earned a call-up after a fine season with the Thanet Road club.
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