Kingspan gifts funding boost to Co Armagh athletes and sports clubs including Craigavon Lakers Wheelchair Basketball Club
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The Kingspan Kickstart Sports Fund launched in 2023, with support from Irish professional golfer, Shane Lowry, to provide support for grassroots level athletes and community sports clubs, has already awarded a total of £76,500 to successful applicants across Ireland.
As part of the fund, David Telford, Armagh; Stuart Bickerstaff, Donaghcloney; Maidens of Macha, and Craigavon Lakers Wheelchair Basketball Club have been awarded £850 each, which will help to provide sporting equipment, training and other necessary resources, alongside offering assistance with any campaigns that are currently underway.
David has been involved with the sport of tug of war for approximately 20 years and during that time, he has won a number of prestigious titles, either as an individual or as part of a team, and has represented Northern Ireland at numerous world championships. Proceeds from the fund will be utilised to assist David with his training regime as well as travelling to and from competitions.
After receiving the uplift, Stuart who is a former teaching professional golfer, hopes to reignite his participation in the sport upon purchasing new equipment.
The Maidens of Macha, is a netball team which focusses on giving women a chance to learn new skills, have fun, boost their confidence and make new friends. Currently with 35 members and an extensive waiting list, the club is planning to create club flags, banners, medals and trophies with the funding.
Newly established, the Craigavon Lakers Wheelchair Basketball Club is an important part of the local community and won its first trophy – the Vase Trophy at the Northern Ireland Wheelchair Basketball League – last year. In order to continue expanding, the club requires support from the Kingspan Kickstart Sports Fund to help purchase new equipment including balls and an electric ball pump.
Speaking about the fund, Hannah Fidgeon, Kickstart marketing manager at Kingspan said: “We are a long-standing supporter of Irish sports through our sponsorship of Ulster Rugby and Cavan GAA, so establishing the Kingspan Kickstart Sports Fund was an important initiative for us.
“Professional level sport is largely well bolstered, however if it’s to continue to progress and thrive, support for grassroots level athletes, sports clubs and facilities is essential. It’s well known that competing at an amateur level can be extremely tough, especially in terms of finances, and we hope that this Fund will help to make a huge difference to clubs, facilities and athletes in their sporting journey.
"We have an immense amount of home-grown sporting talent here in Ireland,” Hannah continued. “If our rich sporting culture is to continue to evolve and develop, we must do all we can to support the grassroots levels, which hopefully the Kingspan Kickstart Sports Fund will help to achieve.
"Congratulations to all the recipients. We’re looking forward to seeing how your clubs and athletes grow in the near future.”
For further information on the Kingspan Kickstart Sports Fund, visit: www.kingspangroup.com/en/about/communities/kickstart-sports-fund/