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Houghton RUFC on the crest of a wave

30 May 2013

  • Accreditation award underlines high standards
  • NatWest RugbyForce underpins improvements

Houghton RUFC is celebrating a notable rugby double after adding a £4,000 NatWest RugbyForce award to the RFU Accreditation status that was recently confirmed by Durham’s Rugby Development Officer Matt Bryan.

The RFU Accreditation award endorses the fact the club is now officially recognised for its successes in creating a more enjoyable and safer place to play the sport and is a tremendous achievement that reflects greatly on all the volunteers at the club. 

While the Accreditation award attests to the calibre of the people running the club and the structures in place, the Natwest RugbyForce scheme is a nationwide programme developed in partnership with the RFU that helps community rugby clubs to improve their facilities with the long-term goal of becoming stronger businesses.

Houghton is one of 35 clubs nationwide that have submitted successful bids to draw down monies to regenerate and refresh the facilities at Dairy Lane, a total grant of £4,000 giving their coffers a very welcome boost.

“Our main aim is obviously to spend all the money very wisely,” said club chairman John Simpson. “We plan to update the whole of the inside of the clubhouse and we will also extend the paved area around the clubhouse to create a bigger space for social activities.

“In connection with the ground improvements we are following the recommendation we received following the visit we had recently from Keith Kent, the Head Groundsman at Twickenham, who recommended that we build a soakaway to stop the training area at the side of the first-team pitch from being regularly waterlogged which, no doubt, the players will appreciate.

“We’ve already installed a Wi-Fi system to make the building more amenable for guest users and we also have plans to upgrade the changing rooms.

“At the moment we have some outside social use for birthday parties, christenings and other celebrations, but like every club in these difficult economic times, we need to generate more external usage. Hopefully the general spruce-up we’re planning will tempt more people from the community to visit us.

“We have around 100 members and friends of the club – many top-class tradesmen – lined up in gangs to tackle different aspects of the project and everything is in place for a major effort on June 16, when we’ll be offering bacon butties and time out for the British Lions game for our volunteers.

“The NatWest RugbyForce award is a huge boost for us. We are only a small, community club, so that kind of backing is very important, coming as it does on the back of the Accreditation Award, a successful fundraising project on behalf of McMillan Nurses and the launch of a new women’s team.

“Once we’ve dealt with the RugbyForce project we’ll set a day aside to have a proper celebration of what has been a very satisfying few months.”

England Head Coach and NatWest RugbyForce ambassador Stuart Lancaster said: “Rugby clubs are at the heart of their local communities and we know that they need support to sustain themselves, not only for the next couple of seasons but also for the years to come.

Many England players started their careers at these clubs and NatWest RugbyForce will help clubs to help themselves by giving them a long-term vision and enabling them to think like a business to attract and retain members.”

For more information about NatwestRugbyForce, visit

To contribute to the Houghton RUFC project, contact Ralph Johnson, Julie Crowther or John Simpson on the club contact number – 0191 584 1460.