September 29, 2008
Barnet Elizabethans RFC are celebrating the opportunity to press ahead with much-needed improvements to the club's facilities.
The club has agreed a new 150-year lease with the London Borough of Barnet on the grounds at their Byng Road home, thanks in part to a grant of �50,000 from the Rugby Football Union through the Community Club Development Programme (CCDP).
The balance of the �150,000 total cost has come from the club and forms part of a long term strategy for the preservation of open space on the site, incorporating a new clubhouse in the next three to five years.
John Duncan, the Barnet Elizabethans Chairman of Forward Planning, commented: "We consider ourselves to be extremely fortunate in being awarded this grant from the Community Club Development Programme. It is of enormous benefit to the club in �kick starting' our plans to construct a new clubhouse. Our existing building is now in its 50th year, having had a life expectancy of 20 years when it was built by our members.
"In more recent years the membership of our mini and junior section has grown rapidly and now numbers just under 400 boys and girls. We now have an active Colts section and have formed a development squad. In addition within the last three years a Ladies section has been created which is very active playing touch rugby.
"Such expansion has created problems with regard to our present clubhouse and having planning permission on the site we are actively seeking to raise funds for a new building to accommodate all within our expanding club."
The Community Club Development Programme is a collaboration between the Department of Culture Media & Sport, Sport England and national sports governing bodies - in rugby's case, the Rugby Football Union.
CCDP monies are directed towards the enhancement of facilities for community-based sports clubs with inadequate existing provision. Community-based sports clubs are described by Sport England as "the backbone of English sport" and over �15 million grant aid has been invested in rugby club facilities since 2003, which when matched by club funds and other funding partners adds up to �35m of investment in that period.
"This has been a significant level of funding for the community game," said Simon Winman, the RFU's Head of Funding & Facilities.
"Our approach in targeting clubs for investment has yielded significant results in the development of both people and places."
Barnet Elizabethans' project fell under the second tranche of CCDP funding through the RFU which totalled �4.75 million for 90 club projects in 2006 to 2008. The initial funding programme from 2003 to 2006 saw 161 club projects completed.