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Rugby Club Issue 64



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Online Feature

RFU & Grass Roots Rugby Pitches

England 2015 provides rugby union with a once in a generation opportunity to deliver the greatest participation legacy for the game in this country. For the last two years the RFU has focused on building capacity and inspiring participation through seven key strands. One of these, Better Facilities, aims to ensure England’s clubs are ready for the Rugby World Cup and has prioritised investment of £10m into 500 clubs nationwide for projects ranging from clubhouses and floodlights through to a club’s most valuable asset – its pitch.

To date the RFU has invested £8.3m into nearly 400 club projects valued at £29m making a pledge with those clubs to be Fit for 15 and work towards achieving the following outcomes;

• Growth of players (retention, returning and new) within rugby club communities in the 14-24 age group

• Improved quality of experience for all users of rugby clubs

• Improved financial sustainability for rugby clubs based upon a wider range of business and social users

Pitch improvement is at the heart of the RFU’s plans as it seeks to improve the capacity of club pitches by up to two matches a week. It focuses upon the pitch maintenance that clubs undertake, provides support for the volunteer groundsmen who maintain the nation’s pitches and, in the most needy cases, provides funding for drainage and pitch construction for clubs whose pitches are unable to cope with the playing and training demands placed upon them.

At the core of the RFU’s approach is Rugby Groundsmen Connected (@rugbygroundsmen) which is an easy access, two-way communication network between the RFU and rugby union groundsmen. It will be the main communication channel for the RFU to provide the relevant information and advice directly to groundsmen - especially pertinent when the information is very urgent such as advice in response to flooding or drought. Registration is free and easy; anyone interested should just email confirming their name and the name of the club or school that they are involved with.

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