In Funding Stories, Strengthening community cohesion

Project: Clubhouse construction

Bucks Big Society Bank Loan: £25,000

For 20 years, Chesham Rugby Club didn’t have a facility to call their own, having shared space with Chesham Park Community college and then renting an area at Chiltern Hills Academy. This meant that for that time the club never had adequate changing, social, catering or meeting facilities, and this had a negative impact on the clubs members and the local community.

Now, thanks to a loan from Heart of Bucks, Chesham Rugby Club have been able to construct a dedicated clubhouse facility for themselves, on the second floor of the Buckinghamshire Adult Education Centre on the Chiltern Hills Academy site, next to the current playing field site used for training and matches. This now permanent home for the club allows them to promote themselves in a more professional way, attracting corporate sponsors and members, both of which have seen an increase since the new facilities opened to the public. Every section of the club has seen an uptake in members, with the clubs netball section thriving, now with 7 adult teams and a new youth section, and their Pre-school age “Bugby Group” now having a long waiting list of members wanting to join the group.  A ‘Return to Rugby Group’ has also been created for the more older players, so that they can still be involved in the game and community.

With more space, the club have been able to host more events, such as 2 men’s rugby cup finals, junior tournaments and successful social fundraising events, welcoming hundreds of visitors, all impressed with the clubs new facilities. These kind of events would have been incredibly difficult previously.

Now that the club have the ability to provide food for supporters and somewhere comfortable and warm for them to meet, the overall experience for families, guests and members has been vastly improved. The club is also offering use of their function and meeting rooms to the local community, which has seen a significant increase to the clubs income, aiding the clubs long term financial stability.

In the first year of opening the building, the club won the BBO Premier League, The Bucks County senior Vase and the South West Senior Vase, making it the clubs most successful year. There is now a strong sense of belonging, community and pride at the club, with players having adopted their own new motto: ‘One club’.

To read more about Chesham Rugby Club and their new facilities, click here.

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