- Pitch improvements help club’s development plans
- New floodlights part of a crucial step forward
Sefton RUFC have taken another step down their ambitious development path with the news that they have been awarded a £35,000 grant from the Rugby Football Union towards the cost of installing two sets of floodlights on their training pitches at Thornhead Lane, Liverpool.
Total cost of the project is £69,966, with support from the Sport England Inspired Facilities programme of £28,350 bringing the project within a Sefton budget that was almost exhausted recently by investment in a pitch drainage system for the two training areas now to be floodlit.
Support for the club comes as the upward trend in player recruitment has rendered existing facilities inadequate and in urgent need of being upgraded.
"With the continuing success of the club’s burgeoning junior section it became apparent to Sefton officials in 2009 that improved facilities were urgently required if progress was to continue," said Sefton RUFC Chairman Bill Jones.
"With only very modest club funds, significant external support was needed and with backing from the RFU’s Capital Facilities Investment programme, a scheme was devised and installed in 2010 which enabled the club to have many training sessions/matches that would have otherwise been cancelled.
"Soon after, work on a floodlighting scheme to cover the pitches was started and Sport England made their award last year."
The recent strong growth in activity at Sefton RUFC has been a key factor in the awards being made and the grants are conditional upon the club maintaining that rate of progress over the next three years. During that period the club has a recruitment target of 57 new male and 59 female members, together with five coaches, four new volunteers and five referees.
"Sefton RUFC is a great club, with bags of ambition and a willingness to work hard to improve, both on and off the field," said Mark Sutcliffe, RFU Rugby Development Officer for Merseyside. "At the moment they are top of their division and this award could not have come at a better time.
"The growth in their playing register in recent seasons has been excellent, but making sure that the extra numbers are properly catered for then became a major challenge. The improvements to the pitches and the new lights will have a big impact.
"Being in the heart of the city, Sefton RUFC has huge growth potential, but training and playing capacity has been holding them back. The new training lights allied to the recent drainage project will go a long way to alleviating this problem, and will allow them to achieve their ambitions.
"This is a true community club, with several local schools using their facilities regularly. The local Community Rugby Coach and I also call on the club’s facilities to host festivals, and Lancashire RFU deliver their Merseyside development squads there, all this alongside a growing mini and junior section and running four senior teams."