In Impact Stories, Strengthening community cohesion, Chiltern

Project: Contribution towards clubhouse construction
Loan: £25,000

For 20 years, the Chesham Rugby Club shared its home with Chesham Park Community College, but in 2012 the club voluntarily gave up the clubhouse to make way for the development of the Chiltern Hills Academy.

They rented temporary accommodation at the Academy but did not have adequate changing, social, catering or meeting facilities.

As a result of further classroom development, the school needed to take back the space the club was renting. Plans were put in place to build a dedicated clubhouse as a second floor to the Bucks CC Adult Education Centre on the Academy site, which is also right next to the club’s current playing field.

A permanent clubhouse providing first rate, accessible facilities would enable the club to fully establish its place in the local community. With around 20,000 visits to the club per season, including over 460 members and visiting teams across all sections, a permanent home is essential for the club’s sustainability.

In addition to a loan from Heart of Bucks, the club also raised funds through grants, donations, investments, a Rugby Football Foundation loan and significant membership fundraising.

On 1st September 2018 the club opened the doors to it’s new clubhouse for the first time to hundreds of visitors.

Opening our new clubhouse has definitely given all our member’s a tremendous feeling of pride. It is a wonderful achievement and a huge boost for the club morale. There is now a strong sense of belonging and unity within the club which had diminished slightly over the past six years when we were trying to function without a clubhouse.

– Claire Moore, Interim Secretary

The new clubhouse has resulted in a number of positive outcomes for the club. For instance, in addition to their regular functions and matches, the club have also hosted two men’s rugby cup finals, junior tournaments, and held successful social fundraising events, all of which would have been incredibly difficult previously.

The ability to provide food for supporters and somewhere comfortable and warm to meet has vastly improved the experience for families, guests and members and a permanent home has also allowed them to promote themselves in a more professional way, attracting more corporate sponsors and new members.

Following the open day, Claire said:

We have been overwhelmed with the difference the new clubhouse has made to our club in such a short space of time of time. With the facilities now built the club committee can focus again on future development plans for the club and its members. Our players have even adopted their own new motto ‘one club’.

Quotes from members:

“It’s enabled me to experience a true rugby clubhouse, full of friends enjoying a safe, social, enjoyable atmosphere.”

“It has brought a sense of belonging, community and friendship throughout the whole club. We worked hard for it and it has made everyone so proud to see our future building come to life.”