Rugby club pleads for town’s support to protect its future
Congleton Rugby Club has called on the town to support a £20,000 fundraiser to ensure it is still “going strong” for years to come after the pandemic put a halt to competitive matches back in March.
The money, that it is aiming to raise by December, will tide the team over until it is safe to play rugby again, which the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) governing body has said is unlikely to be before next year. The funds will also go towards improving the clubhouse on Park Street and making the building covid-secure.
Chairman Chris Brady, who took over from Mike Somers at the club’s virtual annual meeting at the start of October, said: “This appeal is hugely important. It will go a long way to securing the future of this wonderful, historic rugby club for the benefit of current and future generations of rugby players and their families.
“As well as helping tide us over until the time when we can start playing rugby again, the money raised will help to improve the club house, making it a safe, secure and, above all, welcoming environment to enjoy a pie and a drink after a hard-fought match.”
In a statement released this week the club emphasised the benefits of health and wellbeing, both physical and mental, offered by the sport. It also said that people in Congleton should “not lose sight of the things that we want to protect and maintain” for the benefit of future rugby players in the town.
The statement said: “The sad fact is that up and down the country we are seeing far too many local sports clubs go to the wall as a result of the pandemic and the lockdowns.
“A combination of lack of games and a cessation of post-match socialising at club houses has led to a cliff-edge scenario for many clubs as income streams have dried up.
“Our club is no different. There has been no competitive rugby since March 2020 and, despite the sterling efforts of the Rugby Premier League to finish their season in the last few weeks, the RFU governing body does not envisage a return to match playing for grass-roots clubs until the beginning of 2021 at the very earliest.
“Clubs that exist on an almost hand to mouth basis are, therefore, faced with a huge hole in their finances, which they must plug if they are to survive. A town the size of Congleton needs a rugby club.
“The club is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 1860. If we want it to still be going strong in 2060, then we need to act now.”
There is a suggested minimum donation of £5 but the club has said that any amount will help towards its overall target. It is also offering prizes to supporters of the appeal as the names of those who donate will be added to a pot and a winner drawn at the end of the fundraiser. The rewards will be banded, so the bigger the donation, the greater the prize to be won.
Local businesses interested in getting involved with the crowdfunding initiative, or supporting the club through this period, should contact Lyam Denney by calling 07580 658 409.
To donate to the fundraiser, go to crowdfunder.co.uk and search for "crufc".