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Over 400 rugby clubs set to transform their facilities

13 June 2013

  • NatWest RugbyForce to take place this weekend
  • Grants offered to clubs to help make renovations

 

More than 400 rugby clubs across the country will be united in DIY efforts this weekend (June 15/16) as they take part in NatWest RugbyForce and improve their facilities with the support of members and volunteers from the local community.

As part of an enhanced programme between NatWest and the RFU, clubs have been awarded grants of either £250, £500 or £4,000 to make renovations with the aim of becoming more sustainable businesses. In April, 175 clubs were invited to attend workshops to help them plan their projects and get the most out of the Weekend. Some clubs intend to give their facilities a make-over ahead of the new season, others are making more substantial changes. 

Coventry Saracens RFC is one of 35 clubs who received £4,000 and having spoken to the local community and identified a need for a facility where families can socialise, will be using their funds to build two children’s play areas. Sharing this junior focus, Reading RFC plan to improve the boundary fencing and create a shelter for spectators on the pitch where their Under 6s train.

Long-term sustainability comes in the form of recruiting new and retaining existing players as well as ensuring financial security. Puddletown RFC in Dorset and Wiltshire intend to make savings and improve efficiency by replacing their industrial gas cooker with two new electric ones.

Rugby clubs are at the heart of the community and the rent from private functions or other societies using the facilities can be a valuable source of income. Improving the appearance and club house offering for this purpose is a common objective for many clubs over the NatWest RugbyForce Weekend. 

Now that a local community group offering Salsa Dancing have taken the only available slot in Falmouth RFC’s weekly calendar, they are generating money every night of the week and hope that the conservatory area which they are building with their funds will not only provide an improved area for spectators but will also create more ways to generate revenue.

Following the project planning workshops, attendees completed application forms putting forward their club’s case for a £4,000 grant. Ahead of the new season clubs will be invited back to a second workshop, led by NatWest, with a business focus to help them to capitalise on their improved and renovated facilities.

Stuart Lancaster, England Head Coach and supporter of NatWest RugbyForce commented: “You can’t underestimate the importance of planning and the workshops have added this element to the NatWest RugbyForce programme. They are a great way of helping clubs get the most out of their Weekends and to decide which improvements will have the greatest benefit in the long term. It is going to be a fantastic weekend with clubs united up and down the country in their DIY efforts. Best of luck to all clubs taking part.”

DIY experience is not required to be able to get involved in the NatWest RugbyForce Weekend. Volunteers are welcome at all participating clubs, to find out more visit www.rfu.com/natwestrugbyforce