5th July 2016, 17:04 | north_west_mens
Neil McArthur, the founder of communications giant TalkTalk, has given Manchester-based Cadishead Rhinos a huge boost after handing the club a £250,000 cheque, with the aim of building a new, modern home ground.
Cadishead players currently use changing rooms in the run-down Cadishead Recreation Centre on Lord Street and train on old pitches nearby.
Their previous building was shut in 2012 and has severe structural problems.
But McArthur's charity, the Hamilton Davies Trust, has put up a major share of the funding which will mean the old centre can be safely demolished and replaced with new premises.
The telecomms mogul set up the Trust with his wife Anne in 2004 with the aim of supporting the local communities of Irlam and Cadishead.
Another £150,000 had already been secured after the Trust and Salford council submitted a joint bid for a grant from lottery-funded Sport England.
The 60-year-old businessman was born and raised in Carr Road, Irlam, and his late father, Walter, worked at the former Irlam Steel Works.
Neil said: "This opportunity came following the building of a new sports centre on Princess Park, Irlam, which rendered the recreation centre in Cadishead redundant.
"The Cadishead Rhinos used the buildings for a few years. But the key was getting funding to demolish it and build a new one.
"Hamilton Davies Trust will manage the project, so the Rhinos can focus on spending what capital they have on internal things to support training and their development."
The project will provide new changing rooms, classrooms, a kitchen, and floodlights to enable night training.
The Trust has distributed 400 grants to local organisations and projects over the past 12 years and invested £6m of private funds into the area, including the building of a new sixth form college, the extension and refurbishment of Irlam Leisure Centre and the transformation of Irlam Railway Station House into a cafe bistro, with a permanent local history exhibition after standing derelict for 25 years.
Cadishead Rhinos host a wide range of age groups from under 7s...
... through to Masters (35+)
Rhinos club secretary, Paul Elliot, said: "The award is a dream come true for the club and will give us, and the local community in general, a massive boost.
"I would like to thank everyone involved in the partnership and look forward to seeing the new building in its full glory."
The new facility will include flexible changing rooms which will make it possible for female-only teams to be established and the ambition is to encourage more young people to develop an interest in Rugby League.
Cadishead Rhinos are one of the North West's fastest-growing Rugby League clubs and they are currently on the lookout for new players at Primary, 13s, 15s, Open Age and Masters age levels.
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