Like many grassroots sports clubs, Eccles Rugby Football Club has suffered a significant, year-long loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With our annual fund-raising events cancelled, facilities hire halted, fixtures suspended and weekly revenue from our clubhouse bar and kitchen wiped out, we are reaching out for your support to help us move forward with a programme of essential maintenance and ground improvements that will help us to continue to grow and provide more opportunity for our local community to be more active.
Eccles played its first rugby in 1881 and following the great Northern Union divide of 1895 re-established itself in 1897. The club has sustained its existence for 123 years and, surviving two world wars, moved to its home at Gorton Street, Eccles in 1948.
Eccles RFC are a progressive, inclusive community club that provides rugby for all, to a region of Greater Manchester suffering social and economic deprivation.
We are recognised as the leading provider of sports facilities in our area and were the proud recipient of two regional Club of the Year Awards in 2019. With an emphasis on participation the club has a growing active membership of over 300 players and fields 18 teams for Men, Women, Colts, Boys and Girls, from U5s to Vets.
We take great pride in our cultivation of homegrown talent. The majority of our 1st XV Mens and Ladies squads have come through the junior ranks at the club. Many of our players have been selected for Academy placements and County representation.
We run a wide programme of activities for all ages and abilities, including Touch Rugby, Walking Rugby and the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
All work in running the club, maintaining the grounds and clubhouse, coaching, safeguarding, administration, hospitality and delivering community events is undertaken by volunteers.
We believe in teamwork and put committed effort into everything we do. Through the industry of our members, supported by fund-raising and sponsorship, Eccles RFC has continually developed its facilities over the decades, which are accessed by our local schools and several other sports teams in our community. You can find out more about us on our website https://eccles.rfu.club
In March 2020, COVID-19 restrictions suspended all activities at the club. Since then, the on-going coronavirus situation and related lockdowns have resulted in a 12-month loss of vital income from match day revenue and the hire of our facilities.
The pandemic also took away our three big annual summer fundraising events- the sportsman’s dinner, the dinner dance and the Eccles Beer & Gin Festival - and our annual family Christmas Brass Band concert.
The income generated from these events each year is essential to maintaining our club facilities in good working order and improving each season. Without those funds our programme of works, originally scheduled for summer 2020, was put on hold and is now in serious jeopardy.
With your support, we are now aiming through our Crowdfunder appeal to get back in the game and progress the projects that the pandemic has prevented.
With continued club growth in recent years, the burden on our overspill car parking has increased creating pot holes and drainage problems. To address the issues, we propose to
- Improve the stone surface (including repairs, levelling, rolling, compacting)
- Implement safety measures, comprising of speed bumps, concrete aprons, a new concrete footpath and bollards.
- Install a new pedestrian gate near the 3G pitch.
These improvements will provide better safety for our Minis players and visitors who increasingly use our 3G pitch and, in addition, provide safer access through the car park area for our Junior & Senior players and spectators, to our grass pitches under the tunnel.
Our 3G artificial turf pitch, resurfaced in Summer 2019 at significant cost, is used year-round by our club members and several other sports teams in our community. Sadly, this investment has already suffered from vandalism and has become a matter requiring urgent attention. To provide 24 hour protection for our grounds, facilities, members and visitors, we propose to install a new state of the art CCTV system offering advanced remote monitoring.
Our floodlights provide illumination to our grass and artificial turf pitches, vital for the continuation of midweek evening senior and junior training sessions. The current floodlights are now 20 years old and the club has an urgent need to replace several failed units and control boxes with more cost efficient LED items.
Achieving our initial £20,000 target will help us to deliver these three essential maintenance projects. If we are able to reach beyond this to a 'stretch target' of £40,000 we would be able to achieve the following invaluable capital build project...
We have identified that a covered area at the entrance to the clubhouse would be an invaluable asset in the long term interests of the club's members and community.
The proposed projecting pergola framework, featuring removable or retractable roof sections, would provide an adaptable, multi-purpose space, capable of offering shelter for various uses including
- Open air pilates sessions
- Socially-distanced seating for the consumption of food and drinks
- BBQ cooking
- Live music performance
- Match day standing spectating
- Community hire for family and kids sports parties.
- Walking rugby warm up area
- Minis skills sessions in poor weather
- Duke of Edinburgh award expedition equipment check area
The pergola would include security and safety lighting and new illuminated signage on the gable elevation of the clubhouse. Not only would such a development encourage new activities and allow the club to increase revenue through pitch side sales of food and drink on weekends, this new external facility would negate the expense of temporary gazebo hire for future events and provide a safe outdoor setting where families and supporters could gather.
If we reach our stretch target the pergola could be constructed during summer 2021 and ready for use in the new season.
To facilitate these projects and continue to progress and serve our community into the future, Eccles RFC are looking to achieve an initial fund-raising target of £20,000 and are calling on our members, community and local businesses to help us recover from this pandemic crisis and get us back on track.
We sincerely appreciate the financial difficulties many of us are facing right now and we value every single donation and pledge. Please give as generously as you can. Thank you for your support.