We've done it!!
A massive thank you to everyone that has made a pledge to the campaign.
We'll get details out about how and when we'll distribute Rewards in coming days.
More news about when the lighting improvements will occur to follow once we get this commissioned.
Why are we running Crowdfunder again?
- Two and a half years ago we ran a very successful Crowdfunder campaign Pass It On. We asked for your help and you rose to the challenge magnificently!
- Now we want to build on the lessons learned about this innovative way of raising funds and work together to develop Blackwell Meadows, to address our lighting challenges
Let there be light!
Whilst planning for the 2023/24 season, one thing stood out across the Club – darkness! Or, another way of looking at it is that in winter, the one thing that stands out is not very much – it’s too dingy!!
The lighting on the first team pitch, which we ground share with Darlington Football Club, is patchy and temperamental. Installed in the late ‘90s, the floodlights are at the end of their life, the old halide lamps are increasingly expensive to maintain and there will come a time in the not too distant future where they will be obsolete and we will be unable to source replacement parts. There are bright spots, and dark spots on the pitch and the floodlights far too frequently, trip and turn off - sometimes mid-game - and will not come back on for half an hour. In addition to the high maintenance costs, the old halide lamps use considerably more energy and so are much more expensive to run than modern LED lamps. The same is true when we rotate half of these round to illuminate the training pitches – they provide patchy, unreliable and expensive substandard lighting.
To compound the rather unsatisfactory situation on training nights, the route from the car park to the training pitches has no lighting at all, so players and parents have to stumble their way by torchlight. In short, our grounds our poorly lit.
Clubroom and Feetham Room
In addition, our two internal function rooms – which are used by our members, supporters of Darlington Football Club, and many local people for christenings, birthdays, weddings and wakes – have two-thirds of the atmospheric lighting fittings off. This means we can offer very low level atmospheric lighting or glaring white light.
How can you help?
We need your support in helping us to avoid darkness and dinginess (or glaring white light). We are working in partnership with Darlington Football Club, who are putting in a grant to the FA for 70% of the costs of the main pitch lighting (we need to raise £5,400). This seems a good time for us to also fundraise for the costs of the training pitch lighting (£14,000), the route to the training pitches (£6,800), and replacing our internal function room atmospheric lighting (£6,500). This will be a massive improvement, and it will reduce our running costs and our carbon footprint too!!
The Commonwealth Games
Our inspiration comes from The Queen’s Baton for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which was lit by LED lighting! This passed through Darlington on 14 July last summer to much fanfare, involving a wide variety of people from many sports clubs including Darlington RFC. And in the other direction, a number of DRFC members attended different Commonwealth games events, including the Rugby Sevens. International events, like the Commonwealth Games and the upcoming Rugby World Cup, inspire us all: the Senior Men’s and Ladies’ Teams, our Juniors and Minis, and the local community.
Coming back from Covid
As a Club community, we were hit hard by Covid, but our first Crowdfunder campaign in late 2020 provided a much needed boost. People still talk today about the Pass It On YouTube video – it was a memorable highlight that brought us together, when we were all isolated. And just as importantly, the money we raised through our Crowdfunder campaign helped us invest in our grounds and keep activities going during a very difficult time.
Last season (2022/23) was our first where things were fully back to normal. It was great to see the crowds of Minis again, we had an almost total domination in the Colts and Junior County Cup competitions, and the Seniors Men and Ladies were again thriving in numbers and successes. Our income also returned to its pre-Covid levels, and we have finally returned to a position where we can once again turn our attention to investing in our Club infrastructure to help this wonderful community asset for members and local residents.
About the Club
Established 1863, Darlington Rugby Football Club is one of the oldest rugby clubs in the world. We are a community-based club with a flourishing Minis and Juniors section with around 250 children, from age 4 to 17, training or playing rugby every week throughout the season. We have a successful Ladies’ 1st XV team and now four Men’s teams, including our 1st XV, our 2nd and 3rd XV, and our very popular and highly successful Darlington Dinosaurs (veterans team). At our grounds at Blackwell Meadows, we also host the Darlington Young Bulls Football Club, a thriving grassroots community football club with teams from Under 7's to Adults, the Darlington Steam American Football Club, and the Gentlemen and Lady Archers of Darlington, as well as the National League side, Darlington Football Club (The Quakers).
Darlington RFC draws a diverse membership from a large catchment, from Teesdale and Barnard Castle to the west, to Richmond and rural North Yorkshire to the South, to the more urban areas of the Tees Valley and especially the town of Darlington, to the North and East. This catchment covers more affluent districts as well as areas of extreme social deprivation. We as a club are passionate about providing opportunities for all our members and we want everyone regardless of their age, background, or level of ability to feel welcome here and able to take part in sport and physical activity which is so important to physical and mental well-being. We recognise that sport is often people's "safety net", something they use to allow them to take their mind off the stresses of work, and life in general and we continue to support all of our members, with trained Mental Health First Aiders within the Club.
How can you help us?
1. Make a pledge - Sooner rather than later, as we need to get a bandwagon started and keep it going
2. Spread the Word - Share our project on your social media pages and tell the world to get behind us. The more people we reach, the funding support we will get.
3. Offer Rewards - Get involved if you are a local business by donating things we can offer to our supporters. We will give you a 'shout out'.
4. If you want to Run Your Own Fundraiser to support us, maybe a sponsored activity or similar please use the Contact Project button at the top of our page to let us know. Setting up your own page only takes a few minutes and you won't need any bank details, just a fun idea.