Yesterday, a new club house for the Cleveland Juniors Football Club in Middlesbrough in northern England was officially opened. With support from RWE Dea, the Football Foundation and other sponsors, Lionsraw collected a total of GBP 418,000 to complete their first Legacy Project in the United Kingdom. The club house and a lease will secure the future of the junior football club in the long term.
Former Middlesbrough and England manager Steve McClaren officially opened the new clubhouse on Wednesday. Construction, including showers, lockers, toilets and office facilities in northern England, began on 4 March 2014. The new building replaces the old storage containers the young football players and children have been using as changing room until now. The completion of the project is just in time for the start of the football season in August 2014.
"RWE Dea joined Lionsraw’s project in an early stage and we are excited to see now the final result,” said Dirk Schoene, Managing Director RWE Dea UK. “As an oil and gas company active in this region we are proud to support the Teesside community, notably, Cleveland Juniors Football Club. The Lionsraw project is a great opportunity to make a sustainable contribution to the local community that will benefit children and youths in particular,” added Schoene. RWE Dea had already pledged a contribution of GBP 50,000 in the early stages of the project, and this positive signal encouraged other sponsors to sign up as well. In addition to Lionsraw and RWE Dea, the Football Foundation, the Middlesbrough City Council, Sport England, PX Limited, Applied Integration and North Riding FA also came on board.
RWE Dea produces gas for the British domestic market. In October last year, RWE Dea brought the Breagh gas field, located some 100 kilometres off Teesside, into production. The Breagh field gas flows through a pipeline to the coast at Coatham Sands near Teesside. It continues to a gas treatment facility in Teesside via an eleven-kilometre buried pipeline, and from there into the British gas grid.
The scheme’s driving force for the clubhouse project has been Cleveland Juniors treasurer Michelle Rush, who says seeing the clubhouse become reality represents a dream come true for her late father and founding club chairman Frank Rush. “This project will help the club to grow and enable us to continue to offer our unique academy that gives free football coaching to allow underprivileged local children to benefit from top class coaching,” said Michelle Rush.
The football movement and non-profit organisation Lionsraw and it’s supporters have also helped to secure the club’s long-term future with a 25-year asset transfer lease of the team’s Mill Hill pitches in Acklam from Middlesbrough Council. Having similar projects in South Africa and Brazil, it is the first Legacy Project for Lionsraw in the United Kingdom.