JAMES GRUNDY MP: Saluting our RL community champions
As we move ever closer to what will hopefully be the end of lockdown, we can all begin to look forward to seeing our loved ones, enjoy local pubs and restaurants and watch sports at local grounds once again.
Despite this year being a difficult one for many people, there have been some exciting local developments, not least with the ever increasing profile of Rugby League in Leigh, and I wanted to take the time to shine a light on some of the progress being made locally in furthering this fantastic sport.
First of all, as many of you will know, Leigh Centurions’ home ground, Leigh Sports Village, has been chosen to host three Rugby League World Cup matches this year, which is brilliant news for our local area.
By hosting some of these matches, we will attract visitors from far and wide to our town, which in turn will provide a great local economic boost, such as creating local jobs, increased investment in our area and put our town ever more on the sporting map.
But, the sporting excitement in our local area does not stop there.
Earlier this year, I was delighted to be approached by the Leigh Centurions, to discuss their bid to return to the Super League this year and to write a supporting letter for their bid.
I was even more delighted to hear that their bid had been a success and given that Leigh Centurions are a founding member of the Rugby League, I know many local supporters will be happy to see them regain their rightful place in the Super League.
On the back of their bid to return to the Super League, Leigh Centurions have also been able to progress their plans to form a category one classification Rugby League academy.
If successful, not only will the academy give young people in Leigh the ability to aspire to a career in sport, but it will also allow the club to be able to offer long term career paths after Rugby League through apprenticeships and ensure that young people are given the correct support and guidance to pursue a career in rugby without the need to compromise education or future career aspirations.
Once again, this plan represents another fantastic opportunity to provide sporting education and career prospects for up and coming sporting talent in my constituency.
However, I know that the beauty of Rugby League is not just about the successes of larger clubs, but also about the grassroots sporting activities it provides for people of all ages and genders within our local area.
Earlier this year, I met with representatives of the Leigh Miners Rangers Rugby League club, and have put forward my support in the House of Commons for their bid for Rugby World Cup Legacy Funding.
I was pleased to hear the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees Mogg MP, support this brilliant initiative, which if successful, this would allow Leigh Miners Rangers to expand their sporting facilities to make the space for the ever growing interest in the club from both local lads and girls, as well as to provide additional top-class sporting and education facilities in Leigh, accessible for the whole of the community to enjoy.
It goes without saying, that all of this progress could not have been made with the hard work of many local community champions, who have invested their time and effort into providing better sporting opportunities for local people, a more wide range of sporting events to enjoy and watch on our doorsteps, and provide exciting sporting career prospects that may have previously been out of reach for local young people.
The impact that these opportunities will have on our area will be transformative and make a huge difference in our local communities, which is why I’d like to pay tribute to all those involved in these fantastic programmes and plans, and I am very much looking forward to seeing them progress.
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