HENLEY Rugby Club has launched an appeal to help pay for new changing rooms and a makeover of the clubhouse
HENLEY Rugby Club has launched an appeal to help pay for new changing rooms and a makeover of the clubhouse.
The club needs £600,000 for the redevelopment of Dry Leas, off Marlow Road, and hopes the public will contribute.
It hopes to obtain about £400,000 in grants from Henley Town Council, from which it rents the ground, South Oxfordshire District Council, Sport England and the RFU.
The remainder would come from members and public contributions.
People will be able to buy commemorative paving stones in a new walkway by the clubhouse for £75 each.
They can also pay between £300 and £350 for one of 170 new seats in the grandstand with a personalised name plaque.
Joanna Emmerson, the club?s commercial manager, said: ?We want as many people as possible to support us. The paving stones and the seats allow us to give these people recognition.?
The new-look clubhouse will have a new bar, kitchen and toilets and will be made more energy efficient. It would also be reconfigured to seat up to 200 diners.
The single-storey extension will include four new changing rooms, showers and toilets, player treatment rooms and rooms for match officials.
The development will mean the loss of 19 parking spaces but more than 150 wil still be available for use on match days.
The club has obtained planning permission and plans to carry out the work in two stages, starting in April next year with enlarging the bar and moving the kitchen in order to make the clubhouse more attractive to people needing a venue to hire.
Ms Emmerson said: ?We want the clubhouse to provide a great facility. We could also use it for corporate days and be able to offer team-building combined with some of the other facilities here.?
The second phase of the work, beginning in April 2017, would be the construction of the new changing rooms, which will be attached to the clubhouse and closer to the pitch.
Club chairman Mike Trethewey said: ?We did a survey of people who come to the club which showed they love the social side and what?s happening on the pitch but that the facilities are a bit tired and need updating. This has come out of that survey.
?We want this to be the foundations to make us financially stable. In the past we have gone up and down with our finances and what we are hoping is that this will provide stability. We can?t keep going back to the members asking for money every few years.?
Mr Trethewey said the work was not dependent on the club?s first team, the Hawks, keeping their place in National League 1 to which they have been promoted following the end of the season on Saturday.
He said: ?We have just gone up and for a town of Henley?s size it is well above its level. We are competing with teams from places like Coventry with a population of more than 300,000.?
Henley Mayor Martin Akehurst, a Hawks supporter, said: ?The club is a real asset to the town so I am happy to support it.?