31 January 2005
Keswick RFC face the prospect of having their clubhouse out of action for at least three months following the floods which completely swamped their headquarters at Davidson Park, but there are hopes that the watery clouds which proved so destructive may yet have a silver lining.
Looking to the future, the club is exploring what other options are available beyond spending a lot of money on refurbishing the existing building, given its age and the risk that it could flood again, and are therefore examining very closely if it is better to build a new clubhouse that would reduce the effect of any future flooding.
The key to such an ambitious plan is inevitably funding. Whilst the club has the potential to use its insurance money - and loan support from the Rugby Football Foundation - this would still leave a considerable amount to be raised. Keswick are also exploring the possibility of the sale of some land for housing, but this alone will not provide the whole amount needed.
The club has therefore been exploring whether there are any other groups or businesses in Keswick that would like to either make use of available land, share facilities or explore creating a larger multi-use building that could, for example, include offices or workshops.
The club is open to any suggestions, ideas or approaches for joint or stand alone developments with a view to formulating a strategy as quickly as possible.
On the playing side, Keswick are determined to complete all their First XV fixtures and are particularly grateful to Penrith RFC, who have offered the use their club for "home" games and to the other Cumbrian clubs for their offers of help.
Junior rugby is more problematical because of the sheer number of teams and players. There is no obvious alternative venue and whilst some use can be made of Keswick School's offer to use their facilities they can not provide pitches at the school and the club is unable, due to insurance restrictions, to walk young players to the school playing fields at the Howrahs.
However, Keswick are determined to complete all their fixtures for the rest of the season, largely by playing games away, a course of action which will put a heavy transport burden on members and parents.
Functions and events at the club have been canceled for the next three months, but there is hope that after that, some normality will be restored and certainly the key events of the Keswick Half Marathon and the Keswick Beer Festival will go ahead irrespective.
"We would also express our thanks to the RFU for their support and the kind donations the club has been receiving from supporters, who have also expressed their thanks for the work of the rugby club in the community and especially with young people." says spokesman David Etherden.
"Our message is a simple one - Keswick Rugby is still in the business of providing rugby for everyone - especially the youngsters - and we are working very hard not simply to recover, but to come back stronger and more resilient than ever."