The community based rugby club formed in 1893, is looking for assistance to get through a difficult period which has seen the bar revenue decimated and it's marquee fundraising events cancelled since the COVID19 outbreak.
The club based at Mayfield Park, which has been their home since 1970, are looking ahead with high hopes of playing again next season and are now trying to raise enough funds to Bounce Back with a bang and ensure the rugby club continues for generations to come.
On and off the pitch, the club is the central part of the local community and normally Mayfield Park sees hundreds of players train and play on its pitches each week .In addition, this season we have added an under 12 and 14's rugby league side to the compliment the existing senior side.
Off the pitch, we've also seen the bowls, darts and pool teams which reside in the club have their season ended in March and will not play again till some point in 2021. We also are unable to host the football and hockey teams that utilise the facilities.
Due to the current restrictions, rugby matches are indefinitely postponed which has caused the bulk of income to dry up.
Hartlepool Rugby Club, commonly known as Old Boys, is a long time supporter of local charities, raising thousands of pounds during its annual fundraising events such as the Hootenanny Beer Festival for Alice House Hospice (picture below). This year's event was unfortunately cancelled together with the annual President Day, Presentation End of Season Dinner, several music events and Fireworks Display.
HRFC President, Andy Bell said: “Like everyone else we have been affected hard by the coronavirus.
We have started a Bounce Back Fund to keep a community rugby club alive during a period which has seen our income dramatically reduced . The fund will allow us to survive in the difficult period and will also permit us to keep offering free rugby sessions to our thriving 12 junior teams, together with making necessary improvements to the changing rooms to facilitate the eventual return of players in the safest possible environment".
President Andy Bell is pictured below with Greg Hildreth from Alice House Hospice. The club regularly supports this local charity and recently members and friends raised over £1600 following completion of a sponsored bike ride which was split equally between Alice House Hospice and the Acorn Emotional Wellbeing charity, who work in partnership with Durham County RFU to offer counselling services.
Neil C. McAvoy, Deputy Headteacher and PESSPA Programme Director, Clavering Primary School, which has large contingent of children playing rugby at HRFC comments
"As a school that is passionately committed to helping our pupils lead happy, healthy and active lifestyles we are, sadly, aware of how much our local sports club partners are suffering at the moment because of the pandemic. Hartlepool RFC is more than just a rugby club; it is a family and we are always excited to see our pupils (both past and present) join this fantastic club. It is vital that clubs like Hartlepool RFC - that do so much for their respective communities - are given the support they need to survive during these unprecedented times and to help both the physical and mental health of their members."
The special community club is ran by a fantastic and dedicated group of volunteers, from the management team to the kitchen staff to the coaches who give hours every week for the love of the game and the club.
And now we need your help...
The Club just like so many other sporting organisations and charities has been hit very hard by the COVID 19 pandemic and although with the help of its many volunteers we have managed to secure the immediate future of the club we find ourselves in need of your support due to our inability to fundraise / open the bar due the current lockdown situation.
The joint initiative provided by Sport England and Crowdfunder will pledge up to 50% match (up to £10K) to our proposed sum if we are successful. This where you, our valued members and supporters can help.
We understand that these are challenging times and in the current climate, everyone's financial situation is a little uncertain, but we would be very grateful for any donation, large or small, that may help to bridge the gap until we can start playing rugby and hosting events again.
How will your generosity make a difference?
Your help funding Hartlepool RFC will:
- Maintain the FREE junior training sessions, which is a unique offer in Rugby circles.
- Allow the changing rooms / showers to be improved to facilitate the eventual return of players in the safest environment.
- Install two new dug outs on the 1st XV pitch.
- Continue to support the provision of equipment needed for the coaching U5-U18s in a Covid safe environment; in line with RFU guidelines.
- Allowing continued delivery of our local after-school clubs and Rugby Taster Sessions.
- Contribute towards the RFU approved coaching courses for our new coaches to cement the thriving junior section.
- Create a new outdoor seating area to facilitate social distancing.
One a final note, we recently created a Lockdown video to keep everyone spirits high . The Friends themed video made by HRFC players and members epitomises the spirit of a special rugby club.
Please click on the link to see our efforts - Old Boys - Lockdown Video.
Hopefully the video makes you smile.
From the whole of Hartlepool Rugby Club, we thank you for your support!