The Eagles Foundation, a registered charity in Sheffield which aims to harness the power of sport to make a lasting, positive impact on individuals’ lives in the Sheffield City Region, is celebrating an award of £93,650 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a project which will record and share the heritage of the Sheffield Eagles Rugby League Football Club.

The project, entitled “Sheffield Eagles – the story of a Rugby League club battling against the odds” has six key aims:

  • Researching archives: Looking through information held by the club, at the Rugby Football League, within the local archives and by supporters.
  • Digitisation of key documents and items from the club’s past: Documents, photographs, programmes, seasons tickets, videos, flag, banners and other memorabilia held by the club and supporters will be shared with the project. They will be digitised and catalogued then built into an online database, making them searchable and more widely accessible.
  • Collecting stories: Volunteers will interview key people (officials, players, supporters and coaches) from throughout the life of the club recording and filming their stories. An audio history of the club will be produced, available through a series of podcasts, with a short film produced capturing the history of the club.
  • Training and support to volunteers: The project will equip volunteers with the skills to carry out interviews, research the history of the club, take part in the project and produce publications, exhibitions and talks.
  • Sharing the stories: This will include the creation of an online website resource, pop-up exhibitions, learning packs, publications, events and public talks to share the stories and involve people.
  • Working with the local community: The project will reach out beyond the club and its existing fanbase to the community within the immediate area around the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and the wider city to involve them in the activities.

One of the first steps in the project is to recruit a Project Officer who will bring the project to life over the course of the two years, with the role being advertised shortly.

David Butler, Chairperson of the Eagles Foundation, said: “We are very grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for supporting our application and for providing the funding for this very exciting project.

“Compared to their rivals, Sheffield Eagles is a very young Rugby League club and that gives an almost unique opportunity to preserve its heritage for the years to come by engaging with people who were there in the beginning of the club using modern technology that simply wasn’t available when longer established clubs started playing the game back in 1895.

“Thank you to everyone who plays the National Lottery which generates funding for projects such as ours. We cannot wait to get started!”

David Renwick, director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are thrilled to support the Eagles Foundation in celebrating the heritage of Sheffield Eagles Rugby League Football Club. Thanks to National Lottery players, this project will strengthen the community by helping local people better uncover the heritage of the club and its places in the history books of one of the UK’s best loved sports. The North is home to a wide range of sporting heritage and we know it is a great way of bringing people together and creating a sense of pride of place, that in turn can deliver much wider benefits."