Your Vote Could Help Weybridge Vandals Rugby Club to win funds from the Aviva UK Community Fund for their project to refurbish the changing facilities and showers
We are a local community rugby union club. We are an amateur club with all our members contributing to the running costs of the club through subscriptions. Our approach is to keep these as low as possible to enable more people to participate in sport. It is a fine balance between raising enough funds each year and having enough cash to maintain and enhance our facilities and playing fields.
Through the dedication of our many parent volunteers we have established ourselves in the local community and we have significantly grown our mini and junior rugby section. We are highly regarded as an inclusive, open, family-orientated and friendly club. We now have over 450 boys and girls (up from 300 in 2013) regularly playing rugby, as well as 4 senior sides.
A very significant proportion of our membership comes from non-rugby playing schools. We have a couple of parents who volunteer in their own time at local primary schools to encourage children to try rugby. We regularly offer free trial periods to encourage children to participate at no cost.
Our growth has tested the club’s facilities and we’ve already reclaimed overgrown land to increase our pitch space; we have expanded our car park to accommodate more cars and we have added a ladies changing room to enable us to host ladies matches and female referees. We’ve also installed floodlights to two of our pitches.
Our location, an island in the middle of the Thames can at times be idyllic. However we were seriously flooded in early 2014 and it has taken a long time for our facilities to recover. Whilst an element of the flood-damage was insured, much of the funding required to repair the damage to the club and its playing facilities came from members and the club’s fund-raising activities. There is therefore limited scope to raise significant funds from the club’s loyal members and supporters.
Our next project is to refurbish our changing facilities and showers so that when our youngsters progress through to juniors and beyond, they have a great physical environment in which to get changed. We regularly open our facilities up for free and host various events for local schools. This project will allow us to provide a better experience for all our members and visitors as well as increasing the overall foot-fall at our club.
Children and adults alike should be encouraged to participate in sport, especially against a back-drop of health issues linked to lack of exercise. Whilst there is plenty of capacity for growth in our senior section, this project will help us give all our future young visitors the chance to play rugby in enhanced surroundings. There is a drop off in participation as juniors get older and we want to prevent that by improving our facilities.
As a club, we have been successful in recruiting and retaining players to all sections and we anticipate that this will continue. However our ageing facilities are now the most likely barrier to our continued retention and growth.
We have achieved a huge amount as a club over recent years. The way we pulled together during the flood, where we had to relocate to a local school for two months showed the strength of our membership and how much the club means to them. This experience also enabled us to develop our community links. We have children from over 40 different schools playing at our club.
This project will help us enhance our reputation and standing in the local community. It will also benefit other community groups that we allow to use our facilities.
Please visit the community fund website and support us with your vote.