Who are we?
Sedgley Park Rugby Club was founded in 1932, in a Temperance Bar in Sedgley Park. However, we have never actually played in Sedgley Park itself. We moved into the current ground on Park Lane in 1955, which was purchased from the Cooperative Society by the 3 club trustees on behalf of the club. At that stage, after the war, the club only fielded 25 players.
The new clubhouse was started in 1978 and completed in time for the Golden Jubilee in 1982. A lottery grant in the 90s allowed us to purchase more land and extend the clubhouse.
However, we never forgot our community roots which serve us well today. Sedgley Park Rugby Club are a not for profit, community Rugby Club, offering rugby to all age groups from 2 year olds through to adults and all abilities from social through to semi-professional.
We run every age group from Rugby Tots (2+ year old), through Minis (U7s to U12s), Juniors (U13 to U16) and Colts (U18), including Girls Teams at U13s, U15s and U18s.
In addition, we run 6 Senior sides from a Friday night strollers team playing social rugby, to an emerging Ladies Team and 4 Mens sides all playing competitive league rugby.
We currently have a little over 1100 members of the club and this has grown from 800 members 10 years ago and is still growing at around 3-4% per annum, against the decline in sport in the area. Of these, some 250+ are in the Junior Age groups.
But we face a challenging future
We should have finished our season with home games against Sheffield Tigers, Fylde and Preston Grasshoppers. The Fylde Game was our Pink Ladies Day and the Preston game was a sell-out local derby.
None of these major revenue earners happened. Our 1st XV also lost the opportunity of getting into the play-offs for promotion, which was a distant possibility. We then lost 3 Lancashire Games (Mens, Ladies and U20s) which were planned for May, all of which would have raised money to fund the projects we were working on for the summer.
History will tell a different story
Our doors shut on the 23rd March and our revenue stopped. Our 1st XV finished 4th and there is no visible start to a new season or when our doors are likely to fully open again, yet we still have costs to cover.
The impact will be felt wider than just Sedgley Park as we also provide our facilities for the wider community and societies who currently have nowhere else to meet. Just as importantly, the club works with a variety of local companies and suppliers throughout the week and on match days, from catering to the printing as well as providing jobs on match days.
We have built many key relationships with local businesses that are also under threat, with no end in sight to the current pandemic. We and they will suffer significantly reduced cash flow following the cancellation of all rugby and other sporting and social events.
What are our community credentials?
We are more than just a Rugby Club, we are a Community Rugby Club, with an emphasis on the Community. We have fantastic facilities which we open up to the community for use as members of the rugby club or as members of the community. Over 1000 local people (adults and children) have joined the Club as Members, but many more use the club through our various community events. Unfortunately, these are curtailed somewhat in the current climate.
We host many events (large and small), from our very successful Summer Music and Beer Festival to a stunning Fireworks display to summer Cinema Days to Sunday Lunches. Something for everyone.
We also work closely with Local Schools with coaching outreach programs and school festivals.
This year we started the College of Rugby at the Club, teaching BTEC Level 2 and 3 in Sport. We believe this is the first college of its kind based at a Rugby Club.
We have now agreed to utilise the Gym for daily strength and conditioning classes.
We are committed to being a Rugby Club at the heart of the community.
How did the Project come about?
18 months ago, as Chairman of Sedgley Park Rugby Club, I looked into replacing the Floodlights on our Training Pitches. These training lights have been installed for nearly 25 years and are getting towards the end of their useful life. In the winter, these are used 4 nights a week and also Saturday afternoons. They are used by around 250 kids and 150 Adults during the season, so are an essential part of our Club infrastructure.
The lights are of an older technology, Metal Halogen, which have a number of disadvantages over modern LED Floodlighting. The main ones for us are that they are expensive to run and expensive to maintain. By changing to LED Floodlighting, we could save 65% of the energy costs and would almost be maintenance free. At present, our maintenance costs are more than £1500 per year.
We looked at the cost of getting a contractor in to completely change out the lighting to LED. The cost of this was prohibitively expensive, at around £70-80,000. These is no way we could fund this, even with some major fundraising!
How were we going to fund this?
At this point, we decided to set up a small task force to look at doing it ourselves. With a Construction Company, Systems Engineering Company, Electrical Supplier and LED Supplier on board we spent some time looking at the project and how we could complete the project cost effectively, with suppliers and club members carrying out the work. A project was agreed and after costings had been done (and arms twisted) the Task Force believed that this could all be done for just over £20,000 (£20,475 to be exact).
The project was to supply and install LED Floodlighting to replace the existing Floodlighting and actually improve on the coverage. Whilst we would have to fund the project, it was calculated that this could be repaid in about 6 years with the savings made on the energy costs and the maintenance. To this end, funding had been agreed with a finance company to lend the money, paying back over 6 years out of the savings made.
What effect did COVID have on our plans?
We were just about to press the button on this to carry out the work over the summer when COVID struck. This had a massive, detrimental effect on our revenue streams and cashflow. The lockdown, brough about by COVID brought about:
- Cancellation of the lucrative end of season games, including Ladies Day and Lancashire games.
- Cancellation of major events such as Whitefield Festival, Fireworks Night
- Loss of income from Function Room bookings, such as Prom Nights, Weddings and Parties.
- Loss of business meetings. We had 3 Business groups using the Clubhouse 5 days a week
We estimate that the Lockdown cost the Club revenues of around £150,000 between the lockdown in March and the end of August. The losses are continuing as we have only around 25% of our normal revenue at present.
As we were effectively temporarily closed down as a club, the finance company we were going to use to fund the project felt we were too high a risk and pulled out of the financing. This left us with a problem in funding the project. Normally we would have turned to our summer revenue and had a couple of further fundraisers to raise enough funds to complete this, but all major fundraisers were now closed to us.
With the support of our Members and the community, we have been able to secure the immediate future of the Club, but we find ourselves in need of further support of the Members and Community and our community to fund this much needed investment in our facilities.
NOW, WE REALLY NEED YOUR SUPPORT…
We have now revisited the project and have decided, with the help of Sport England and Crowdfunding to set up a Crowdfunding project to raise the £20,000 we need to complete this project. This would require our supporters to raise at least £10,000, which would be matched by Sport England. I am sure, even in these difficult times, we can do this as a club.
We have asked our local suppliers to help out, where they can, at this time and provide a number of rewards that can be claimed by those donating. Please make use of these with your donations.
TIGERS CYCLE CHALLENGE
In November, we have set a challenge to Cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats, virtually. The traditional route is 874 Miles (1,407km). We are looking to get cyclists from all sections of the Club to join us in this challenge. The current record for cycling the route by a single cyclist is 41 hours, 4 minutes and 22 Seconds. Our challenge is to complete the route, as a club “relay”, and beat the current time.
Further details will be sent out when they are finalised, but the challenge will be to raise funds by Sponsorship and every member of the club can be involved in the “relay”, from Minis to Colts, 1st Team to the Ladies Team and social members. The challenge will be done virtually on Gym Bikes or around the Club perimeter on Road bikes and the times and distances aggregated to complete the challenge.
Please give generously, thank you.
How do you know we did what we said we would?
We will be taking photographs of the project as it progresses and will post these on our Social Media
We will also provide a full report on this Crowdfunding page on completion.