Berwick Rugby Club are celebrating the award of a £50,000 grant from Sport England, and are looking forward to a year of fundraising.
The club intend to use the money perform major surgery on their training pitch, to complement the developments already made to the clubhouse. But they must raise £50,000 worth of match funding first.
The club’s development chairman, Chris Budzynski explained: “When we had a very bad winter two years ago. Our training pitch was underwater for months, and unplayable.”
That should change with the £50,000 grant – the maximum available – which the club secured from Sport England’s Improving Playing Fields Fund.
“The plan is to get in some new top soil, and some bigger and better drains to help with the drainage issues,” said Chris. “We are also looking into installing some sand slits, which will help drainage as well.
“It all goes towards helping the young people who come through the club, and who hopefully will stay with us and move on up into the senior side. That’s what it’s all about.”
However, the club have to match fund this grant to enable the works to progress. Fund raising has already started which will involve all members of the club. A development committee has been set up, and funds have already been garnered from the club’s Burns Supper.
The aim, says Chris, is to spend 2014 seeking match funding, with work on the pitch starting in spring 2015.
That will compliment the work that has already taken place on clubhouse facilities.
“We received £40,310 for the clubhouse last year from Sport England,” added Chris. “That was under their ‘inspired facilities’ scheme.
“Back in the early 90s when it was built there was no gas supply in Scremerston, so Calor gas and oil was used. Back then it was fairly cheap, but it got more and more expensive.
“This funding, and getting a new gas supply, meant that we could put in new, more efficient boilers for the showers and things like that.
“The club had to raise £5,000 towards the cost of the project which was successfully completed by David Leslie (Plumbing & Heating Engineers) & Michael Guthrie (Builders) “ said Chris .
“We are indebted to the grant from Sport England which enabled the work to proceed.”
That money also went towards an extension of the clubhouse, which works as an office as well as an education room.
“We have a lot of records to keep,” said Chris, “with all of the young people on our books here,all their child protection, and all of our staff being CRB checked.
“It doubles up as an education room, as well. A lot of training and coaching nowadays is done through video,” said Chris, “so it helps to have somewhere to bring the players in when it’s too wet to train, rather than sending them home.”