Following on from its support and sponsorship of Newcastle Falcons in the Rugby Premiership, Stelrad – which has its head office in Newcastle city centre – has extended its support for rugby to include wheelchair rugby by donating two new specially adapted wheelchairs to what was called Newcastle Wheelchair Rugby Club, renamed during lockdown as North East Barbarians Wheelchair Rugby to more accurately reflect the club which has players and supporters from Morpeth in the north of the area, and as far south as Hartlepool.
The two new chairs have been delivered to the team and will allow two more players to play wheelchair rugby – a sport that is growing in popularity and one that needs funding and support to make it work properly. It costs in the region of £10,000 a year to run the club and whilst all the players pay monthly subscriptions, it’s vital that they can raise additional funds from local businesses and get grants from charitable sources in the region to cover their costs and keep the club in the black.
Ex-rugby player Mick Armstrong is the man behind the club and he’s delighted with the additional two wheelchairs: “The club is reliant on volunteers to run it, and we welcome any additional fundraising activities that we can benefit from to ensure we have the necessary funds to keep functioning as a team. It’s gifts like this one from Stelrad that keep things moving and enable us to offer the sport to more individuals who are wheelchair bound in the first place.”
“It’s a great sport to watch and you quickly realise why the wheelchairs need to be adapted to cope with the robust nature of the game with regular full-blooded collisions and no holds barred interceptions,” says Stelrad’s Head of Marketing, Chris Harvey. “We were delighted to be able to help in a small way by providing these two additional wheelchairs for the club. We have built a reputation over the years for supporting local sport up here in the north east and in South Yorkshire, where our manufacturing unit and national distribution centre are based. These are strange and challenging times for manufacturing businesses, but we’re pleased to be able to help the club in this way.”