- Double funding boost is welcome bonus
- Refurbishment plans at Ovenden Park
HALIFAX RUFC is urging friends, members and sporting folk from the local community to get behind a scheme which they hope can act as a springboard for club development.
The Ovenden Park club has been the beneficiary of a double boost from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) which will enable a series of major improvements to be made at the ground to make it much more user friendly for members and local community visitors.
Halifax has made two applications to the RFU for support for their refurbishment project and both have been successful, meaning they will receive £11,500 towards a scheme of work costing £17,000.
The NatWest RugbyForce programme is a nationwide initiative designed to help community clubs like Halifax RFC deliver improved facilities to their members and community users. The project focuses around the NatWest RugbyForce Weekend, which takes place on June 15 and 16, 2013 when members, friends and casual volunteers will get together to convert the funding delivered by RugbyForce into tangible and meaningful improvements at the club’s Ovenden Park headquarters.
Club members have already attended one of the planning workshops set up by the RFU to ensure clubs maximise the potential of the weekend by having their portfolio of work and resources finely tuned.
"The NatWest RugbyForce programme initially guaranteed us funding of £500 for putting together an outline programme, but that was supplemented by an additional £3,500 when our bid for support for a major renovation project was successful," said Club Chairman Grayham Smith.
Halifax also received an even greater boost when it secured £7,500 from the RFU to become a Lead Up and Legacy Centre as the plans for the World Cup 2015 in England gather pace.
The RFU has committed an additional £10m capital investment in more than 500 clubs nationwide under the Fund which will establish a network of Lead Up and Legacy Centres aimed at providing a platform for growth in club rugby participation and membership across the country.
The grant of £7,500 to Halifax sees a formal partnership between the club and RFU which will improve the quality of the rugby experience for all users of the site and provide improved facilities for local people who play the game or use the club as a community hub.
The upgrade at the club is aimed at changing the first impression guests and newcomers to Ovenden Park have of the club by significantly improving the surrounds.
"Ovenden Park is as it always has been since I first visited in 1962 and it is well loved of people like me who are steeped in the place," said Grayham Smith. "But without the rose-tinted spectacles it is not so attractive and we need to change that appearance to encourage more players, volunteers and spectators to enjoy the values which make our game so special.
"We are improving the car park, erecting security lighting and creating a ramp into the club for disabled users. One of the bonuses from that work is that a group of lads from the North Halifax Skills Centre will be working on that part of the programme and hopefully they will be able to time the completion of their contribution to coincide with the NatWest RugbyForce weekend.
"We are delighted to have secured this investment to become a RFU Lead Up and Legacy Centre and obviously the key to success now is to mobilise as much support as we can get from within and outside the club.
"Getting plenty of people signed up to donate their time to the club on June 15/16 is our primary objective and hopefully we will generate an enthusiastic response which will help us to make significant improvements.
"Apart from the three major initiatives, we will have the necessary tools to paint, clean, strim, cut grass, wash, tidy up and deal with the myriad other small but important jobs which make such a big impression on visitors.
"My appeal is to Halifax RFC members past and present and folk from the local community to give us a few hours of their time on the weekend of June 15/16, not simply to make the project successful, but also to help generate the fresh enthusiasm and impetus which stem from a successful team effort."
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