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Isle of Wight RFC scrums down with local volunteers

01 June 2012

  • Island club sprucing up changing rooms and clubhouse facilities
  • Runners-up award comes up with crucial cash for redecoration

Isle of Wight RFC is preparing for a mighty makeover this weekend (Saturday June 2) with help from a team of local volunteers to get the club fit and raring to go for next season.

The club will be decorating the changing rooms and other facilities in their clubhouse at Wootton Rec after being awarded a £1250 runners-up package from RBS RugbyForce. 

Dave Metcalfe, Chairman of House & Grounds at Isle of Wight RFC, said: “We’re hoping to have a big crowd from the local area so we can get the club ready for next season and beyond and enjoy ourselves at the same time. 

“We will be open from 9am to 5pm, with lunch and a barbecue at the end of the day, and the bar open. We are expecting at least 25 volunteers along to help – all ages at the club are involved, wives and girlfriends are coming along and we are lucky to have a couple of electricians and a plumber among our players.

“Our clubhouse was built in the mid 1970s, it is a slightly tired building and we want it to be more presentable for everybody inside and outside the club. Good facilities and a fun environment can be the difference between players sticking with rugby or not.

“Situated where we are on the Isle of Wight we have a colossal travel cost each season that takes up a lot of the money we receive from sponsors and across the bar.

“So to be awarded this package by RBS RugbyForce is a real godsend. It is always a question of finding money for paints, plasterboard and other materials, and this prize is perfect for us to make the clubhouse look so much better while we are working on our plans for renovation in the longer term.

“We have set out three or four areas around the changing rooms and toilets to concentrate on this Saturday - it should be a lot of fun and a great starting point for work that will continue throughout the summer.”

Coincidentally, RBS RugbyForce supporter Jason Leonard, England’s most capped international player, will be visiting Isle of Wight RFC for a fund-raising dinner on Friday evening (June 1) before he travels to the 2012 RBS RugbyForce winners Mitcham RFC on Saturday to lend a huge hand in their weekend’s activity.

Isle of Wight and Mitcham are among five English rugby clubs celebrating awarded ‘enhanced support packages’ from RBS RugbyForce, the annual community volunteer programme delivered in partnership with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Rugby Football Foundation (RFF).

The programme, now in its fourth year, received a record number of registrations with 278 clubs applying to receive support packages to transform their facilities with help from their local community the coming weekend.

The RBS RugbyForce official panel of judges who had the difficult job of assessing the registrations was formed of RBS RugbyForce supporter Jason Leonard, as well as Rugby World editor Owain Jones, RFU Funding & Facilities Manager for London & South East Rick Bruin and Head of RBS Brand and Marketing David Webb. The RFU provided the jury with invaluable support in making an initial assessment of all the clubs that fell into their respective regions, giving crucial insight at a local level.

Martyn Wilson, RBS Group Sponsorship Manager, said: “We’re really excited that Isle of Wight RFC is taking part in the RBS RugbyForce Weekend.  We hope it will help them prepare for the new season and that the resources we provide will make a real difference to their efforts.  Rugby clubs are so often at the heart of these communities and we’re thrilled that RBS RugbyForce has really taken off over the past three years and is now reaching so many people.  It’s a natural extension of our RBS 6 Nations sponsorship and a reflection on the true value of club rugby to the wider community.

“The feedback from last year was great and this year we aimed to reach as many clubs as possible again through RBS RugbyForce. Isle of Wight RFC is taking an important step in improving the game at a local level and I hope many more continue to follow their lead."

More information can be found at www.rbs.com/rugbyforce and www.facebook.com/rbsrugbyforce