Young Hartlepool rugby players appreciate firm's 'grand' gesture

Young rugby players in Hartlepool are feeling “grand” after their club received a cash boost.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 1:59 pm

Hartlepool Rugby Football Club, which offers free rugby for youngsters, secured a £1,000 grant from the Venator Community Fund.

The club came top, with 3,948 votes in an online poll for the cash from the Wynyard-based chemical firm’s fund – which has now handed out more than £50,000 to schools, community groups and charities since it was launched in 2018.

Lee Dodgson, treasurer of Hartlepool RFC, said the money would be invaluable in helping the club to continue offering free rugby to local children.

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Hartlepool Rugby Club players and officials celebrate the backing from Venator.

He said: “We’re thrilled to have won this award from the Venator Community Fund. The money will go directly to the junior section of the club.

"We intend to use it to buy two sets of rugby kits: one for the girls’ team and another for the under 15s boys’ team. Any money that’s left over will go towards our running costs so we can continue to ensure that kids can play rugby for free.”

He said: “I’ve been at the club since I was 12 and I’m now 36. I went through the junior section, into the senior section and now I’m part of the management team. I’m really proud to be part of a club that offers free rugby for kids.”

Around 200 juniors aged between five and 18 play for the club which has been part of the local community since 1893.

Young players at Hartlepool RFC

Karen Fenwick, vice president corporate branding and communications at Venator, said: “The fact that the club polled almost 4,000 votes shows just how much it is valued by local people. They were worthy winners of our top prize of £1,000.

“Hartlepool RFC provides a brilliant service to the local community and we were delighted to award them with a grant from our fund, which is designed to support organisations that have innovation and teamwork at their heart.”

Venator is a New York Stock Exchange listed business with its global HQ at Wynyard.

The company established its Community Fund to support the communities in which its employees live and work.

For more information about Venator’s Community Fund, go to