Portlaoise Panthers Basketball Club is to receive €5,000 in funding under this year’s Texaco Support for Sport initiative.
Under the scheme – similar to that which proved successful last year when the Laois county award was presented to Laois Cricket Club – a fund of €130,000 is made available by Valero Energy for distribution in equal amounts to a successful applicant in each county.
Located on Borris Road, Portlaoise Panthers Basketball Club has an expanding membership comprising some 400 players, coaches, management and volunteers.
Estimated to be ‘one of the biggest clubs of its kind in the country,’ it caters for both genders of all abilities.
The club fields thirty-five teams across all age groups from senior masters to nursery, including a wheelchair team, whilst catering for children and young adults with disabilities including some with mild or moderate intellectual disability.
Fostering inclusivity, the club hosts a ‘mothers and others’ group and is guided by the ethos that ‘no person within the community who wants to play basketball will be left behind’.
The €5,000 award made to it under the Texaco Support for Sport initiative will be used to fund its development programme and to advance the principals on which its success is founded: to ensure fairness, to empower people, and to provide equal opportunities for all members in the community.
Overseeing the judging process was Texaco Support for Sport ambassador, former Irish rugby international and well-known broadcaster Donncha O’Callaghan.
Commenting, he praised ‘the policy of inclusivity’ evident in the Portlaoise Panthers Club, describing it as ‘a welcoming club whose contribution to meeting the needs of its community is admired’.
Pointing to what he termed “the invaluable contribution” that sports clubs make to the heart of community life in Ireland, James Twohig, Director of Ireland Operations, Valero Energy (Ireland) Limited, congratulated Portlaoise Panthers.
He said: “Special to us, and the purpose for which our Texaco Support for Sport initiative was introduced, is the opportunity it presents to ease the financial pressure on members by providing new and additional funding so often required to help clubs achieve their objectives and play a pivotal and positive role in their communities.”
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