As the Rugby League World Cup comes to Huddersfield, Kirklees Council has awarded funding to three local rugby clubs for their work at the grassroots of the sport.

As part of the Rugby League World Cup community programme, Huddersfield Giants in the Community, Dewsbury Rams and Batley Bulldogs have been given support.

Huddersfield Giants in the Community created new women and girls’ teams through a variety of competitions and school programmes hosted at Emley Moor ARLFC, Newsome Panthers JARLFC, Underbank Rangers RLFC and Moldgreen JRLC.

Dewsbury Rams supported the council’s Cohesion Team, Community Plus and Everybody Active Team in hosting two rugby league festivals for children and young people at their home ground.

The two festivals focused on introducing adults and children to rugby league with a focus on women and girls in the second festival. The festivals were also supported by North Kirklees School Sport Partnership, Dewsbury Celtic RLFC, Dewsbury Moor RLFC and Batley Boys ARLFC.

Batley Bulldogs have been running weekly walking rugby club sessions at Batley Community Centre. This wellness walk enables participants to meet new people, socialise and workout at the same time.

News of the awards comes as the John Smith’s Stadium hosts a World Cup quarter-final between Australia and Lebanon on Friday November 4 (7.30). There’s food and drink stalls and entertainment during the afternoon in St George’s Square.

Youngsters on the pitch at Dewsbury’s Tetley’s Stadium

Clr Shabir Pandor, leader of the Kirklees Council, said: “Being a host for a RLWC match has brought a lot of opportunities within the sport to our communities. It has enabled rugby clubs to create activities around the sport for young people to take part in and experience playing rugby league.

“And the funding that our rugby clubs in Kirklees have received as part of this will help build on the sport in the district.

“It is a great opportunity for us to have the men’s quarter-final in Huddersfield, not only in the birthplace of Rugby League but also the additional visitors it will hopefully bring to Kirklees.”

Additionally, RLWC2021 have funded five Kirklees rugby clubs within the borough through their CreatedBy funding award of which the clubs have received £450,000 between them.

This money will go towards providing better facilities for the clubs and investment into kit and equipment to help grow the sport locally and support the sustainability of these community clubs.

Emley Moor were awarded £195,800 to create a new changing room block with social and community space that will provide the club with capacity to grow the number of players and teams enjoying the game.

Newsome Panthers, Shaw Cross Sharks ARLFC, Batley Young People’s Club and Dewsbury Moor ARLFC are the other community clubs who have benefitted from the funding.

RLWC2021 has also supported these clubs by providing education on mental fitness to young players and their coaches giving them tips and tools to look after their mental health.

And as part of the drive it will enable people with support needs to access volunteer opportunities. RLWC will also provide free themed education resources for schools and community organisations so children can learn more about the game and its values.