Club scores cash boost to improve its facilities

Whitley Bay's Rockcliff Rugby Club members celebrate receiving National Lottery funding'REF 2810148064
Whitley Bay's Rockcliff Rugby Club members celebrate receiving National Lottery funding'REF 2810148064

A borough rugby club is celebrating after being awarded a major grant towards improving its facilities.

Whitley Bay Rockcliff RFC is among 148 sports projects to secure a share of £10m of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund.

The club will receive £75,000 as part of a £100,000-plus project to install new floodlights and refurbish the clubhouse at its Lovaine Avenue base.

The project will see an upgrade to match standard floodlights on one pitch with another available for evening training for the first time.

Alongside this the clubhouse will be revived in time for Rugby World Cup 2015.

Club chairman Dave Swinburne said: “This award is a massive boost for the club.

“The floodlights extend the time available for training and games to meet the demand from the literally hundreds of mini, junior and girl players at Rockcliff, as well as those playing touch and senior rugby.

“The refurbished clubhouse will further increase Rockcliff’s role as a community asset for the people of Whitley Bay.”

Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell backed the project saying: “The support of the Sport England Inspired Facilities grant will enable the club to meet the growing demands of more people wanting to play more types of rugby, more often.”

Sport England property director Charles Johnston said: “The Inspired Facilities Fund has had a huge impact on grassroots sport.

“Since 2011, we’ve invested £94m into more than 1,800 projects to improve and refurbish sports clubs and transform non-sporting venues into vibrant community sports clubs.

“It’s great to see Whitley Bay Rockcliff RFC join the long list of successful clubs to benefit from this fund.”

Minister for Sport Helen Grant said: “Having good sport facilities on people’s doorsteps is crucial to encourage more people to take up sport and get active.

“The latest £10m investment of lottery money from the Inspired Facilities Fund will help improve and maintain grassroots sports clubs across the country, benefitting communities for generations to come.”

More communities are set to benefit from the hugely popular fund with the latest round of the Inspired Facilities now open.

The fund is now an open programme which means projects can submit applications as soon as they are ready rather than on a deadline.