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Newcastle Roller Girls compete in European Cup thanks to Venator funding

Newcastle Roller Girls. Credit: Zero G photography

Newcastle Roller Girls achieved their target and highest ever position of 62nd in roller derby world rankings, helping to inspire women across the region to give the fast-growing sport a go.

In October 2018, the Newcastle Roller Girls A Team competed in the first WFTDA European Continental Cup, in Birmingham, to face seven of the best European teams after being awarded £250 from Venator’s £10,000 Together Fund.

Global chemical company Venator, the experts in pigments and additives which has its HQ at Wynyard Park, established its Together 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 people region-wide.

The winning groups from across the North East, received a grant of £250 towards activities that inspire teamwork, one of Venator’s core values.

Newcastle Roller Girls are a non-profit grass roots sports team with 85 dedicated members from across the region. The team’s objectives are to strive for athletic excellence, promote teamwork and community, while encouraging women into sport. In 2018, Newcastle Roller Girls successfully applied for Venator’s Together Fund to enable their A Team to train for and compete in the WFTDA European Continental Cup – the first event of its kind in the UK and the highest level of game play the team had ever participated in.

Angela Stapley, Board of Directors and skater, said: “We were absolutely over the moon when we found out that we had been awarded the funding. Our ethos is to ensure that no-one is excluded from taking part because of financial constraint. We are completely volunteer-run and we play and fundraise as a team. The funding enabled our A Team to train knowing the whole team would be able to go to the WFTDA European Continental Cup, no matter their financial circumstances. It was a huge benefit for our skaters and bench staff.

“Taking part in the tournament represented the culmination of a long-term competitive goal. Our ranking of 62nd in roller derby world rankings (out of 350+ teams) was not only the highest we’d ever achieved in league history, but it meant we got a place in the cup. The cup also provided our A Team with an amazing opportunity to learn from the high-level competition. From the skaters, through to our bench staff, the whole team learned skills and gained experience which they have since passed onto the wider team.

“We would strongly recommend other community groups to apply for the Venator Together Fund. It is a really easy process to apply and Venator has friendly staff who are always happy to help.”

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 schools, 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.