The University of Chester’s Rugby League Club has been strengthening its links with Chester Gladiators, thanks to funding from Active Cheshire.
Active Cheshire is a strategic commissioner of sport and physical activity in the county.
The social enterprise has provided funding of £3,000 which has allowed a satellite club link to start this academic year to help the university club to increase participation and performance through the expertise of the Chester Gladiators.
The satellite club offers a collaborative training session at the University of Chester with the Chester Gladiators, with a specific target of increasing participation of the 18 to 25-year-old age group.
The members of the University of Chester Rugby League Club work in partnership with the Chester Gladiators, offering coaching to their junior section and local schools. The link has enabled a clearer pathway for the university’s team to participate regularly in rugby league.
Mike Walker, a player for the University of Chester Rugby League Club and Chester Gladiators, went this year to English University trials and made the cut for the North West team, playing in Telford against the Midlands.
Mike said: “The partnership between the two clubs has allowed me to have played in a game of this magnitude. The quality and athleticism on show was just something to behold and I’m grateful I got to be a part of it and show the rest of England that Chester can play Rugby League.”
Vice Club Captain James Banks added: “The partnership between the Chester Gladiators has seen us come closer together, to enrich both clubs and community. As Club Captain, I am looking forward to an incredible year and a stronger newly formed partnership that would see both clubs profit immensely.”
Chester Gladiators men’s captain Mark Kingsley said: “The partnership between Chester Gladiators and the University of Chester is working great. It has allowed us use of the facilities during the winter months including the state of the art 3G pitch. In return, there has been the opportunity for the university lads to gain more experience through training sessions. We hope to continue, strengthen and improve the partnership over the coming years.”
Active Cheshire senior partnership manager (Cheshire West and Chester), Duncan Setterington said: “Active Cheshire were delighted to be able to support a growing community club and university sporting activity. We have seen a great impact on participation for students as well as increasing community access and use of the fantastic facilities at the University of Chester. We hope the mutually beneficial relationship will continue to flourish!”
Chester Students’ Union student activities manager Sarah Latham added: “The partnership with Chester Gladiators is incredibly valuable. The funding from Active Cheshire and this partnership has allowed both clubs to grow this year. It’s great to see the University of Chester Rugby League developing the sport and this has been proved by the club reaching the quarter finals in the British Universities Colleges Sport (BUCS) Northern Conference Cup.”