Members of a successful Darlington cricket club are feeling powered up thanks to a four-figure grant from a regional employer.
Rockliffe Park Cricket Club has installed its first ever permanent power supply at its Hurworth Place ground which is being fuelled by 16 solar panels on its pavilion roof, with battery packs being used to store the energy generated for later use.
The ground didn’t have any power supply at all until 2013, and because making a connection from the main electricity grid to the new pavilion that it opened that year was too expensive, it has had to use a stand-alone generator instead for the last six years.
Most of the project cost have been met by a £5,000 grant from the Banks Group’s Banks Community Fund, and the club committee is hoping that having a more reliable power supply will encourage more outside groups and local people to make use of their facilities for their own meetings and events.
Teesside mechanical and electrical engineering contractor AVRS was appointed to provide technical support and to carry out the installation required for the project.
Founded in 1927, Rockliffe Park Cricket Club currently runs three senior teams which compete in the North Yorkshire & South Durham Premier Cricket League, as well as three junior teams.
It has won four trophies over the last three seasons, and is the current holder of the League’s Readman Cup.
Recent investments by the club in covers, additional sightscreens and a new electronic score box have allowed it to host representative Durham CCC games and to introduce Sunday cricket to the club.
Club chairman Richard Howell says: “The generator we’ve had to use for power has been somewhat unreliable as well as being far from ideal from an environmental point of view. We are fortunate to have a beautiful setting and the constant noise that it made somewhat detracted from the atmosphere around the ground.
“Putting the solar panels in place has already made a real difference on match days, when you can hear the birds singing around the ground rather than the constant drone of machinery. We also hope that by continuing to improve our facilities will help us increase participation across the local community.
“As well as players and spectators enjoying access to reliable power, we hope these improved facilities will make the pavilion a more attractive option for other groups and that we will see more of them making use of what we have to offer, whether for cricket matches or other events.
“There’s no way we’d have been able to make this project happen in the foreseeable future without the generous support we’ve had from Banks and AVRS, we will enjoy the benefits of it for many years to come.”
The Banks Group’s renewable energy division, Banks Renewables, operates two onshore wind farms within a few miles of the Rockliffe Park ground – the Moor House wind farm near Sadberge and the Lambs Hill scheme near Stockton.
Banks Property is also the developer behind two residential property schemes off Roundhill Road in Hurworth.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “The Rockliffe Park cricketers put a great deal of thought and effort into coming up with a plan for better meeting their energy needs and we’ve very pleased that we’ve been able to help them bring it to fruition.
“As well as securing the wider environmental benefits that using renewable energy sources provides, the difference it has made to the playing environment is tangible and we hope everyone enjoys hearing the timeless thwack of leather on willow much more clearly.”
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects.
Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.