With the East Regional League due to kick off on Saturday, Duns Rugby Club are already celebrating after they were awarded £50,000 from the Scottish Government’s facilities fund.
Duns were named as one of 12 rugby clubs across Scotland who will share a total of £550,000 in the first round of rugby facility fund money to improve their current facilities.
The Berwickshire Club were awarded £50,000 to improve their facilities and to continue to increase community participation in the sport.
Following the announcement on Tuesday, Duns RFC vice president Tom Thorburn said: “Duns RFC are delighted that things are moving at pace now and hopefully we’re going to see the development of the pitch and ground works so we’re delighted that this money has come in.
“I was quite surprised when I got the email yesterday to tell me we had got it and I congratulate the team behind it for putting together a successful application. We can now see a real positive movement.”
Each club had a different plan for the money should they be granted an award, with priority given to projects that primarily benefited young people. Duns RFC was successful in its application having shown a track record of growing the game at junior, youth and adult levels. Ardrossan Academicals, Ayr, Biggar, Cambuslang, Lismore, Irvine, Kirkcaldy, Marr, Paisley, Perthshire and Preston Lodge were also successful.
The £550,000 comes from the £1.25 million rugby facilities fund which Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill MSP announced in February this year, alongside a £2.4 million extension to the CashBack funding given to Scottish Rugby which is used to drive the growth of the game across Scotland in local communities.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr MacAskill said: “The excitement surrounding Scottish rugby is building as our national team prepares to kick off their World Cup campaign within the next two weeks.”
But he said that international success can only be built on investment “at all levels of the game”, which is why the Scottish Government is helping to fund grassroots rugby through the CashBack for Communities programme.
“Since it was launched in 2007, CashBack has ploughed millions confiscated from criminals into development programmes for Scottish rugby, and this latest funding award will help 12 clubs across the country improve their facilities and allow that development to continue,” Mr MacAskill insisted.
“Today’s grant awards will allow 12 community clubs to improve facilities such as lighting, pitches and changing rooms, meaning enthusiastic players at different levels of the club game can continue to help rugby move forward in Scotland.”
Scottish Rugby’s chief executive Jock Millican added: “We are delighted that 12 of our grassroots clubs have secured facilities investment funding through the partnership between Scottish Rugby, sportscotland and the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities initiative.
“This new investment will assist our clubs in enhancing their facilities for players, coaches and spectators and further support the growth of rugby across Scotland.”
The CashBack for Communities programme uses money seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act to fund community projects.