Today the Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP visited Blackbrook Rugby League Club in St Helens on a special day for the sport as Government signed off the RFL’s Return to Community Rugby League Action Plan – which will see a phased and incremental return over coming weeks and months.

The Minister was able to see for himself how Blackbrook is at the heart of its community, bringing sporting, social and volunteering opportunities to hundreds of children, young people and adults. He heard first-hand about the club’s importance to the local community as evidenced by the incredible work of the club, the Steve Prescott Foundation charity and local pub the Eccleston arms as they joined forces to bring food and cheer to local people during lockdown.

Club captain Craig Lyon and Junior Secretary Paul Levick and other club volunteers showcased all the ways the club has worked to keep players active and engaged during the recent period – including the use of digital resources. Young Blackbrook players demonstrated some of their small group training skills and drills for the Minister and guests, as they look forward to training in larger groups and the phased return of the sport.

The clubs is transforming its facilities with the support of the RLWC2021 CreatedBY legacy fund. The junior section was awarded £3,076.92 towards kit and equipment to create a female junior section consisting of two teams at the Under 14 and 16 age groups. And the club was also awarded £11,100 towards the upgrade of their boiler and hot water system and refurbishment of their showers in the changing rooms.

State of Mind Sport presented the multi award winning mental fitness session to coaches and to players earlier this year

Appropriately the Men’s World Cup trophy visited the club for an exciting photo opportunity with the young players and a chance to celebrate the whole town as the proud host of 3 Men’s games next year.

Round 1 Tonga v PNG; Round 2 Tonga v Wales; Round 3 Australia v Italy will all be played at the Totally Wicked Stadium – home of St Helens Rugby League.

Both local St Helens MPs Conor McGinn MP and Marie Rimmer MP came along to show their support for Blackbrook, St Helens RLFC and RLWC2021, together with Paul Sculthorpe MBE and Ralph Rimmer, CEO The RFL, alongside Lizzie Hughes from Sport England.