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Wind farm fund helps rugby club score community win

A SOUTH Lanarkshire rugby club has Invested in the local community with its latest purchase of high-quality training equipment after being awarded a £5,000 grant from local renewables firm Banks Renewables.

The grant has allowed Clydesdale Rugby Union Football Club to purchase a state-of-the-art scrum machine, which will help the training of its 46 members, enticing new players to the club.

Clydesdale Rugby Union Football Club was awarded a grant from Banks Renewables’ Kype Muir Wind Farm Community Fund, which was set up to provide financial assistance to community groups, voluntary organisations and communities local to the areas surrounding the major onshore wind project.

The machine will simulate an opposition forward pack in a rugby scrummaging position, allowing Clydesdale Rugby’s forwards to practice their technique by pushing against the equipment in a controlled atmosphere.

Larry Walker, President of Clydesdale Rugby Union Football Club, said: “When we first applied for the Kype Muir Wind Farm Community Fund, we were looking to purchase ventilators for the club’s changing rooms during the Covid-19 pandemic. We were delighted when we realised we could apply for further funding for the equipment.

“The new scrum machine is a great addition and will help us teach the members to learn an intricate part of the game properly and safely during our weekly training sessions, helping them to improve and build upon their skills.

“This is also a massive plus for allowing us to share expertise with the younger generation, teaching them the right positions and techniques with the best equipment from the offset.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that our club helps take a lot of kids off the street. Rugby gives them something sociable to do, while also allowing them to learn new skills and benefit from the mental and physical advantages of team sport.”

The Clydesdale Rugby Union Football Club was formed in 1977, with players at the club ranging from 16 to 54 years old.

Larry continued: “Anyone can use the machine whenever they want, including local schools. It is a great asset, not just for club, but for the community in general.

“We never would have been able to afford the scrum machine without the grant – we are hugely grateful.”

The fund is part of Banks Renewables’ Connect2Renewables initiative, in which the family firm commits to maximising the economic and social benefits of all its wind farms in South Lanarkshire.

Applications for community funding are determined by the Kype Muir Community Panel (KMCP), a group that consists of community councils local to the Kype Muir Wind Farm and developers, Banks Renewables.

Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables, said: “It was hugely rewarding to learn of the benefits that the scrum machine will bring to the club members, as well as the local South Lanarkshire community.

“It is so important to encourage the younger generation into sport and it is great to see the Kype Muir Wind Farm Community Fund is being used to promote an active lifestyle in the area.

“With scrummaging being such a technical part of the game, it is great to get youngsters involved from the outset and teach them how to play rugby safely. We are looking forward to watching Clydesdale Rugby Union Football Club continue to grow and thrive in the area.”

George Smith, chair of the KMCP, said: “Stonehouse Community Council were happy to support the application from the Rugby Club as they encourage participation in the sport for all and gives young people an organisation to join where they can stay healthy and learn to improve their fitness.”

Kype Muir and Kype Muir Extension are set to deliver community benefits equating to more than £770,000 each year in funding made available to surrounding communities.

The 41 turbines of Kype Muir and Kype Muir Extension will have a combined installed generating capacity of over 150MW of electricity per annum. This is enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 100,000 homes, or more than 200,000 people.

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