YORK RLFC Foundation has received a grant of almost £8,000 to support the growth of wheelchair rugby in the city.

The club has been awarded a total of £7,780 from the CreatedBy RLWC2021 Capital Grants Legacy programme, a fund made available by the Government and the National Lottery to support the legacy of last autumn’s Rugby World Cup by growing participation in the sport.

The money will be used to purchase four new state-of-the-art sports wheelchairs and a range of equipment including balls, bibs and wheelchair tags.

Wheelchair rugby league has seen a rapid increase over recent years, with more than 2,300 spectators at England’s clash with France at Leeds’s First Direct Arena last month.

York established their wheelchair team in the wake of the country’s success at last autumn’s World Cup, and it has gone from strength to strength since.

They finished second in their inaugural North Division season, losing just one match across the campaign, and also earned the title of the 2023 Wheelchair Rugby League Club of the Year.

Their talents were put on display at York’s Inclusion Day in May, which saw the LNER Community Stadium host a Wheelchair Rugby League Festival, LDRL competition and York RI Templars match before York Knights hosted Newcastle Thunder in the Betfred Championship.

Such has been the take-up of the code in the city, York’s team now boasts 25 registered members, and a number of dedicated volunteers.

Sessions have gone down a storm at the University of York, York College and Harrogate High School, with the club attracting almost 100 new players in less than a year.

York also hosted an England training camp and open training session, with students in the city also treated to virtual assemblies with England’s World Cup-winning head coach Tom Coyd.

Adam Prentis, York RLFC’s Delivery Manager, admitted that he is excited to see the code progress further in 2024, saying: “I am hugely grateful to the CreatedBy RLWC2021 Capital Grants Legacy Programme for their grant, which will allow us to continue the fantastic growth of York RLFC’s Wheelchair side in 2023.

“This funding will allow us to purchase equipment vital to maintaining the progression of Wheelchair Rugby League in York.

“We are really excited about seeing this code of the sport progress further in 2024.”

Martin Coyd OBE, England Wheelchair general manager, explained that York RLFC have made a “huge impact in the Wheelchair family” and backed them to be a force to be reckoned with in 2024.

“The England National Performance Squad enjoyed an excellent preparation camp in June at the University of York and a real high point was the taster session enjoyed by a huge number of people, all ages, genders, abilities,” he said of the growing appetite for the code in the city.

“York entered a tough competition in the North Division last season and more then held their own. 

“I am sure they will be a force to be reckoned with again in 2024.

“However, I believe that success is about much more than a scoreline or a league position, it is about the values and culture of the whole club, the environment and how people feel. 

“York will certainly win at all of these key components.”