Who we are. The first 125 years
Winlaton Vulcans RFC is a long established Community Amateur Sports club and provides facilities for a wide range of sports but is also social centre for non-sports local community groups. Winlaton is still classed as a deprived area. The Club is run entirely by volunteers and the Committee is made up of personnel with a range of ages and experience. The club is run by three officers, President, Treasurer and Secretary who along with a committee are elected annually at an AGM. Although its origin is as a sport club it has subsequently developed a strong social arm at the centre of village life.
Winlaton Vulcans is historically a male orientated rugby union club but in the last two years we have developed a new female section which has grown rapidly.
We also provide a home for a rugby league club and both senior and junior football clubs. These other clubs are associate member clubs and make use of the facilities. Although most of those who play sport at the Vulcans are local to Winlaton there are a fair number who come from across Tyneside. The club sporting facilities are used six days a week and although the pitches are well maintained the changing and bathing facilities are under great strain accommodating the different sports, genders and age groups. The clubhouse was built in 1965 and as such the standards need upgrading to meet the levels of facilities which are expected from a modern sports club.
How COVID affected us
We had managed to secure matched funding through "Volunteer it Yourself" Who were going to supply labour and materials and attracted matched funding from Sport England. Their support with Sport England was worth £30,200 of a total project valued at £49,500. However the pandemic has meant that they cannot supply the materials and labour required which has meant we need to find our own builders and find matched funding. Hence the reason for this campaign.
We also host and provide facilities for junior school rugby tournaments which are run by the Gateshead Schools Sports Partnership. Apart from being a sports club, the club is used by many in the village for social activities, such as birthday parties, funerals, christenings, weddings, etc. As well as the regular clientele we have OAP bingo nights, and social events to raise money for many local groups. Although many who use the club socially, are current and former players, there are many who live locally from the village but have never played any sport.
What we need
We have plans and just need to employ builders once we can afford it. We hope that the RFU will match us up to £ 10,000. The total of £ 20,000 plus our existing savings and grants will give us the changing facilities we need for the community.
Why we need it
Currently on a match day if the Ladies need the toilet they must go upstairs through the lounge with all their muddy gear on. Having their own toilets and showers will not only be more convenient it will help keep the club tidy and more importantly give us the flexibility to have each game with their own independent changing rooms and showers. This means we can hold any combination of Men, Ladies or Youth games at the same time enabling us to make full use of all of our pitches.
Winlaton is located in the west of Gateshead and in an area classed as deprived, with most of the Gateshead MBC sport and leisure investment concentrated in the centre or east of the borough. The rugby club building is over 55 years old and now provides a home to several sports, rugby union, rugby league, senior and junior football. The recent development of ladies rugby has accentuated the need to upgrade our changing facilities. In barely 18 months the ladies have gone from nothing to having 35 active players, becoming a competitive team, winning their league and making plans to develop a junior girls team.
This success has put an ever increasing strain on the facilities. Due to the nature of the age and layout of the changing rooms, it is not feasible to have men and women playing at the same time. The ladies’ game has been developed around the time when the men are not playing but this is not sustainable and puts a break on the long term growth of the female game. These issues are even more damaging when concerning access for young people.