A concerted drive by a North Yorkshire rugby club to provide affordable sport for families has paid off with more than 100 youngsters signed up and facilities improved.

Part of the initiative's success is owed to a grant received from Broadacres Housing Association's Community Development Fund.

As with many community sports groups, Thirsk Rugby Club saw a drop off in coaches and children returning after the Covid lockdowns.

Chairman Dave Wood said a plan was launched to ensure a generation didn’t miss out, with coaches going into local schools, volunteers running stalls on local markets to spread the word and additional land acquired at Thirsk racecourse.

The club also ran a series of taster sessions over the summer holidays.

The Northern Echo: Some of the youngsters who attend the sessions organised by Thirsk Rugby Club

“As well as getting out and about to let people know what was available, we were conscious that many families had been affected by parents being laid off or furloughed and the cost of living crisis, so it was important that we made sport affordable for all,” said Dave.

The club has fixed subscription at just £50 a year and with the help of a £500 grant from Broadacres and a group of dedicated volunteers, it been able to provide posts for the new pitch, renovate an equipment store and supply free kit to children.

Now it has more than 100 youngsters, boys and girls, aged from three to teenagers taking part in sessions each week as well as a thriving adult section.

“The hard work seems to have paid off and it’s thanks to the support that organisations like Broadacres give to community groups that we have been able to make this investment for the future,” said Dave.

Most read:

Get more exclusive from The Northern Echo with a digital subsription for just £4 for four months for a limited time only, by clicking HERE.

The Broadacres Community Development Fund supports local organisations, groups, and projects in areas where Broadacres has homes. All grants are approved by the Association’s own residents, via a Community Development Fund Panel.

Broadacres resident Jacque Maylon, who is on the panel, said: “The club is doing some fantastic work encouraging children to take up rugby and improving their general physical health and wellbeing.”

People/organisations who would like to apply through the Community Development Fund can visit www.broadacres.org.uk/customer-area/getting-involved/community-development-fund to find out more.