RUGBY League, like many industries, is finding it increasingly tough from the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

This is as difficult a period as the sport has faced to keep its head above water amid the crippling financial pressures from being shut.

Positive news is thin on the ground at a time when nobody can know for sure what will happen next – on or off the pitch.

But a Bulls milestone has recently been clocked up that is well worth celebrating.

It is just over 10 years since Bullbuilder, the club’s supporters trust, was established with the goal of supporting youth development within the fabled academy structure.

Links were quickly established with the age-group coaching and medical staff that have remained as strong as ever a decade on.

In the past four years, Bullbuilder has raised more than £67,000 and made significant donations towards coaching assistance, an ice machine, squad team-building away days, providing and upgrading the analytic system, a camcorder, squat bars, welfare grants (including head injury assessments) and nutrition education.

That money has been generated through sponsored events from a Summer Ball and race nights to taking on Yorkshire’s three-peak challenge across Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent. Fourteen volunteers did that to raise over £2,000 in 2018.

Chairman Paul Butterworth said: “It’s great to see so many young players graduating to the next level.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of supporting BullBuilder is seeing the progression of players from the youth system into the first team - Ross Oakes, Liam Kirk, Bradley Gallagher, Brandon Pickersgill, Ebon Scurr, Rowan Milnes, Joe Brown the list goes on.

“The Bradford Bulls Academy has famously supplied some of the best players in Rugby League, including the Burgess boys, Elliot Whitehead, John Bateman, Jake Truman, James Bentley, Tom Olbison to name a few.”

Head of youth development Leigh Beattie remains grateful for their backing, just like John Bastian and Paul Medley before him.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bull Builder and all its members and supporters for your outstanding contribution and support over the last 10 years,” he said.

“That support has provided equipment for training, in the gym, classroom and on the field.

“Providing medical equipment and supporting the wellbeing of our junior players, this has had and will continue to have a massive impact on the development of our players.

“On behalf of all the players and staff once again a massive thank you to you all.”

Head coach John Kear has proved keen to give the rising youngsters at the club their chance, with Gallagher and Scurr the latest to make their mark before the 2020 season was suddenly grounded last month.

He acknowledges the role that Bullbuilder has played with their investment in the academy.

Kear said: “Bullbuilder has been a vital part of our youth development programme, ensuring that our youth department can provide the best possible environment in which to help our young players develop as players and most importantly as people.

“Without their consistent support in what has been some difficult years for the club it would not have been possible for this to happen.

“I would like to thank all involved and if you are thinking of joining Bullbuilder, please do not hesitate to do so as it really does make a difference.”

Butterworth revealed the Bullbuilder board will continue to make significant changes to reflect the support they provide for the development of the club’s up-and-coming players.

These include a welfare policy and procedure and financial help if the youngster or their family are struggling to pay for equipment. Donations are made at the request of the head of youth.

They also provide a variety of awards for the player of the month and year as well as for specific academic achievements.

He said: “Bullbuilder continue to make further significant contributions towards the club’s scholarship and academy in 2020.

“By making this financial contribution, Bullbuilder will be continuing to provide additional support to the Bulls youth development.”

Membership is available from £10 a year by visiting the link

Donations can also be made to support youth development at