A rugby league club are hoping more people will give the sport a try after forming a new department.
Cramlington Rockets have created a community department to further their work in the surrounding area.
Steven Beaty has been appointed as community development manager and will be engaging with schools and community groups to help increase the growing participation in the sport.
Steven said: “The response from the local schools has been fantastic and we’re adding new partners every week.
“We are a successful rugby league club founded on strong values and have always been player-driven, and that has been something that has really appealed to those that have signed up.
“We have always considered ourselves to be a forward thinking club and this is the next logical step for us to keep growing.
“No other community rugby league club in the north east has a community department and in fact very few exist in any sport across the region.”
The club relocated from Killingworth to Cramlington in 2009 and since then playing numbers have grown exponentially, with almost 200 currently registered from eight-years-old to adults.
Next month will also see the formation of the Cramlington Learning Village Rugby Academy, a partnership led by Steven, which will provide sixth form students with an Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ education with qualified rugby coaching.
Club chairman Jeff Ball said: “Steven is a Rocket through and through, having being a part of the first ever Rockets side back in 2000 and has now 12 years of coaching in the community.
“He has worked as a community coach for Gateshead Thunder and most recently spent three years at Super League champions Huddersfield Giants.
“The schools who have signed up so far have recognise the high quality he brings to the role, and the fact he turned down a number of high profile positions to return to his native north east and develop the club speaks volume about the opportunity we have here.”
Steven added: “My role is geared around increasing participation and awareness of rugby league and as the community department continues to grow over the coming years, we will be able to offer even more opportunities and keep building towards our ultimate aim of creating a legacy of rugby league in the north east.”
The club are looking to appoint some part-time community development officers to deliver rugby coaching in both primary and secondary schools.
For more information on the new community programme, contact Steven Beaty on 07984 630083 or email firstname.lastname@example.org