Stockton RFC (U13/U15 Girls’ Team) are one of eight Stockton community groups to have won £250 from Venator’s £10,000 Together Fund.

Global manufacturing company Venator, the experts in pigments and additives, established its first ever £20,000 Community Fund in July 2018 to support communities where its employees live and work.

Successful applicants went head to head with scores of community and sporting groups in an online vote involving 65,000 region-wide.

Venator, which has its HQ at Wynyard Park, has awarded the first winners of its £10,000 Together Fund a grant of £250 towards activities that inspire teamwork, one of Venator’s core values.

Grants were awarded to: Billingham Juniors FC Under 12 Lionesses; Stockton RFC (U13/U15 Girls’ Team); Norton Hockey Club; Wynyard Village FC U8; Stainsby School of Gymnastics; 6th Norton (St Joseph’s) Scout Group; Fairfield Primary School; and Children’s Dance Opportunities.

Stockton RFC, founded in 1873, has used its grant to buy club shirts for its U13/U15 girls’ teams who had been borrowing the boys’ U14s team kit.

Coach Gareth Maloney said: “Grassroots girls’ rugby is pretty new and it’s only our second season. We currently have about 18 players and last season fielded enough players at U13 level to attend festivals and play against more established teams from the North East.

“We plan to build on this by recruiting more players from local schools, establishing a succession of girls’ teams that will become ladies’ teams in coming years. Key to this is relaying the message that the club exists and that the girls are viewed as importantly as the boys’ teams.”

Karen Fenwick, Vice President Corporate Branding and Communications at Venator, said: “It’s great to hear how the grants are actually spent and that they do make a difference to teams and community groups across the North East.

“With over 600 employees across the North East, we think it’s important to give back to the communities where we live and work. Congratulations to all who received an award and for those that weren’t successful this time, our Together Fund will be reopening for entries after the summer!”

Venator is a New York Stock Exchange listed business with its global HQ at Wynyard. The company established its £20,000 Community Fund in July 2018 in a bid to support the communities in which its employees live and work through supporting projects that align with their values. The £20,000 Venator Community Fund incorporates The Together Fund and The Bright Ideas Fund.