Red Funnel Supported Teams
Celebrating local talent, our supported teams initiative will assist local Island athletes, artists, and performers on their path to high-level success off-Island.
This year we will support talented teams, all shortlisted for their aptitude, brilliance, and dedication to their vocation. They represent a wide range of talents and careers, from rugby to irish dancing, and underwater hockey to theatre productions, and each live, work and train on the Isle of Wight.
Meet our Supported Teams for 2024
A well-established local team, Solent play Division 1 in the Isle of Wight netball league and won the league overall in 2023. Alongside their podium position, players at the club were awarded Defence and Attack trophies and were the Isle of Wight Open Tournament winners. Off-Island, the club plays in the Southampton Premier League, a highly competitive division playing the best of Hampshire netball teams. For the 2024, Solent aim to retain their local titles and finish top 3 in the Southampton Premier League.
At the heart of Ventnor Rugby Club is community and inclusion, dedicated to recruiting players from all walks of life and providing a safe environment for training, playing and socialising. Along side their training and matches, the squad regularly fundraise for local charities, and were one of only 200 teams worldwide invited to take part in Rugby’s Bicentennial Celebrations in February last year. The teams currently hold first and second XV in the Hampshire League, hope to defend their ranks in their respective leagues in 2024.
An all-male Barbershop Acappella Chorus, Wight Harmony are a like-minded group who have a passion for singing and entertaining. Meeting and rehearsing weekly, the group perform at local events, aiming for the annual British Association of Barbershop Singers Convention annually. In 2023, the group finished the national competition in 11th place, a huge leap up from their previous ranking and something they are very proud of. This year, Wight Harmony will return to the BABs Convention in May, hoping to retain their 11th place or finish even higher in the competition.
In 2023, Starlight Academy pupils qualified to compete at the National Finales in London, where they came away with seven podium positions. At another competition, the Under 8s commercial dance group scored a perfect 100 for their routine, with several winners overall at competitions and a Grand Champion title. Through these competitions, several pupils have been scouted for scholarships with mainland dance coaches and academies. For 2024, the Starlight Academy’s biggest goal is to qualify for the Global Dance Championships, with the UK heat taking place in London later in the year.
Vectis is an inclusive club for amateur Island riders competing in showjumping, dressage, and cross country. Holding shows locally here on the Isle of Wight, the club also takes several members off Island to compete throughout the year at National Championships and qualifiers. In 2023, the club achieved several podium positions in 70cm showjumping and dressage, offering competitive opportunities to both senior and junior individuals and teams. For 2024, the club hopes to attend as many National Championships as possible, with two junior members already having qualified for the Dressage to Music Championships later this year.
Established in 1847 as Undercliffe Cricket Club, Ventnor Cricket Club has a rich history, and they remain a prominent part of the Island’s cricketing community. With members ranging from 6-86 years of age, the club has a thriving youth section, as well as team categories spanning up to U51s! Since becoming a Red Funnel Supported Team, Ventnor Cricket Club have increased in membership numbers, gained promotions in Hampshire and IOW leagues, and welcomed women and girls to take up competitive cricket. In 2024 they hope to maintain league status, introduce a 4th XI team for the Saturday League, and develop coaching opportunities.
A historic club at the heart of the East Cowes community since 1885, East Cowes Vics are in Step 6 of the non-league football pyramid, playing in the Wessex League, Division 1. It’s no secret the club has struggled over the past few seasons, but with a new management team coming in at the end of 2022, the start of 2023 compared to 2024 is day and night. Beating relegation in the 22/23 season set the tone for ending the calendar year in a strong position to reach this season's playoffs. Continuing work around the home ground ‘Beatrice Avenue’, noticeable improvements are taking shape. For 2024, the club strives to reach the playoffs for promotion into the Premier Division and to make a successful application into the 2024/25 FA Cup. With such ambitions and targets, our ever-growing fan base will have something to look forward to this year.
NAUT are a competitive club, offering members the opportunity to take part in social rides, competitions, time trials, road races and offroad challenges both on the Island and mainland. In 2023 the club achieved multiple podium positions across several categories at time trial and hill climb events, including taking the Women’s Overall wins at both events with different riders. Another NAUT rider had a prolific season, achieving 2nd place in La Marmotte & 1st at the Mont Ventoux Gran Fondo (France), then 2nd at the Tour of Cambridgeshire Time Trial (the UK's only UCI World Championship qualifier). Here on the Island, the club boasted the two highest placing local riders in the Isle of Wight Road Race. For 2024, NAUT aims to continue offering a platform and opportunity for like minded local riders looking to train and compete, or just have fun.
A local kickboxing club with members from all backgrounds and ages, the Panthers compete locally, nationally, and internationally as a team. In 2023, Panther Harvey Abbott become Under 18 GB Kickboxing Champion and was selected to represent Team GB. At junior level, the Panthers had their best year to date, with Panther Alfred Whiting winning the Cimac-Super League at age 12, and three Panthers winning at the Southern Area Grand Slam League. For the year ahead, the Panthers plan is to train even harder with more classes, a new boxing ring and even more competitions in the calendar. The club now boasts two Team GB representatives and hopes to see more of the squad breakthrough to national level this year. Panther Katie Moram is leading the way for females in kickboxing with wins in 2023, and the squad would like to see more girls coming to join them for training in 2024.