Hawick Rugby Club have received a welcome windfall as they look to kick on this season following a sizeable grant that will help it develop the rugby stars of the future.
The Banks Community Fund has awarded the club a £5,000 grant, which has enabled them to make improvements to their gym and training facilities at their Mansfield Park base.
It is hoped that the newly upgraded facilities will help the next generation of rugby players train more effectively, providing a greater opportunity to join the 59 fully-fledged internationals who have so far plied their trade at Hawick.
Hawick vice-president John Thorburn said: “It is all but essential in modern rugby that players regularly weight train to build the strength and power to compete at the highest levels.
“This grant from Banks Community Fund will therefore help us provide a springboard for future international rugby stars, such as Stuart Hogg, who has recently gone on to play for the Lions as well as for Scotland.
“Youngsters from the age of 14 will benefit from the upgrades as we look to improve the equipment as well as making the gym changing facilities more functional and modern.”
Banks Community Fund is a charitable fund set up by the Banks Group, the Hamilton-based property and renewable energy business, which can be used for everything from church hall repairs to community garden schemes.
The installation of new gym equipment and the facilities upgrade has now been completed and ready for use for the new season – with Hawick hoping to improve on their seventh-place finish in the BT Premiership season last time out.
Thorburn added: “The Banks Group has been hugely supportive of Hawick RFC in the past few years and we have very much enjoyed working with them and encourage all associated with the club to take a close look at their local proposals.
“Their planned wind farm at Birneyknowe offers huge potential to local businesses and to community and sport groups in the area, which will help the future prosperity of the region in general.”
Jeannie Kielty, community engagement co-ordinator at Banks Renewables, said: “We are really pleased by Hawick RFC’s successful application as it is such a valued institution in this part of the Borders.”