CELEBRATIONS broke out on the pitch at Lux Park as a girls’ rugby club smashed its fundraising appeal. 

Liskeard Looe Rugby Club has raised £6740 so far in its community crowdfunder – including a grant of £2,500 matchfunded from Sport England. 

The young players and their coaches and parents were joined by representatives from Devon and Cornwall Police at training as they celebrated the success of the appeal. 

The police team had given an extra £750 to the fundraising in addition to the generous support from Cornwall Council, a raft of local businesses, and individual donors. 

The money will now be used to purchase equipment and specialist coaching for the junior girls’ section of the club, which has ambitions of attracting young women from all over South East Cornwall to take part in the growing sport. 

Devon and Cornwall Police provided cash through the Proceeds of Crime Act after the club shared its aim to give more young people in Cornwall the opportunity to be more active. The purpose of the Proceeds of Crime Act, explained the force, is to deprive a convicted criminal of any financial benefit they may have made through their crimes; funds are reinvested in local community projects. 

Meanwhile, Cornwall Council provided £1,100 through local councillors’ Community Chest fund, and Sport England gave £2,500 via the Active Together fund. 

The rest was raised through support from local businesses in the form of rewards and donations, cake sales organised by the girls, a match-day car wash at Lux Park, and the community getting behind the team. 

The girls’ section of the club now has on average 33 young people between the ages of 11-17 training each week, having grown steadily since it was first set up a few years ago with just four participants. 

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police who plays women’s rugby said: “I only started played rugby as an adult and I wish I had had the opportunity to play when I was younger. 

“Rugby has given me a sense of confidence I never thought I would have. I have grown as a person and a player over the years, and the sport has given me lifelong friendships, focus, drive and a strong sense of comradery. 

“I am inspired by the women I play with, the players you see in the higher leagues and on the international stage. What I love about rugby is that to play it you can be any shape or size and come from any background. If you have passion, drive and your team-mates behind you, you can take on any challenge thrown at you, on or off the pitch. 

“It’s fantastic that the club have hit their fundraising target and it’s amazing to see so many girls playing and looking to get involved in the sport.” 

Cornwall Councillors Nick Craker and Jane Pascoe were among those giving their backing to the appeal. 

“I am so pleased the Liskeard Looe Girls Rugby team have hit their fundraising target, I know they have all worked so hard to fundraise for their club,” said Nick. 

“I am sure the contribution from my Council Community Chest fund and all the individual donations and other fundraising activity will make a huge difference to the girls’ rugby team. They should all rightly be proud of their achievements and of smashing their goals.”  

Cllr Jane Pascoe added: “I am delighted to contribute to the fund as I truly believe it is hugely important for girls to be given every opportunity to enjoy sport. So many personal achievements can be accomplished through sport. I wish the LLRFC Girls a most successful season and thank them for promoting the game and encouraging girls to have a go.” 

Head coach at the club, Zoe Alee, said: “Thanks to the police and our supporters, we will be buying equipment including tackle pads and donuts for training, balls and new rugby kit strips. To make our training and club as inclusive as possible we provide players with a kit each, and we ask those leaving or moving groups to return their old kit so we can recycle and reuse. 

“The fundraising total means we can now get on with organising our summer outreach. We aim to double the number of girls training in the club. We will visit schools to set up taster sessions to give them a flavour of what being in the club is like. 

“There are currently no girls’ rugby teams in Bodmin and Saltash, we also have girls coming from Wadebridge, and girls can join mixed training with Liskeard-Looe Lions from age seven – so we’re excited about how the club can grow. To keep stretching and training our current members, specialist training sessions will be arranged for areas like kicking conversions, paid for from the fundraising, and we’ll be building their fitness and team connections throughout the summer with activities and training sessions.  

“Women in Sport’s recent report highlighted that more than one million girls in the UK lose interest in sport after leaving primary school. We are keen to address this, and also to build confidence after a tough few years for everyone. We welcome new players, and we are also looking for new coaches to join the club so please get in touch if this is of interest.” 

Anyone interested in joining the club or having a go should visit the Facebook page Liskeard Looe Girls Rugby or email [email protected] and one of the committee will respond quickly.  

AS the crowdfunding total crept up, Liskeard-Looe girls were busy making rugby history in their town with all three age groups playing simultaneous home games for the first time. 

It was a busy day and a great atmosphere on the main pitch and the school fields as the boys were also at home. 

“For many years now the club would only have a handful of girl players within only one or two of the age categories – some years, just one player,” said head coach Zoe A’Lee. 

“However, as of the start of the present season, we have an amazing amount of players and we are growing. 

“We always welcome new players to the club and no experience is needed,” she continued. 

“The Under 12s are school Year 7, Under 14s are from Year 8 and 9, and the Under 16s are Year 10s and 11s. 

“We train Wednesday evenings at 6.30pm throughout the rugby season between September 1 and the end of April . At the moment we are offering free trials, which is an amazing opportunity for your daughter to come along and try it out to see if it’s something that they would like to take part in. 

“We would like more children to get involved in activities outside of school, especially sport, and especially rugby!”