Belper Rugby Union club ready to hit the ground running
Grassroots rugby union is back in business and flood-hit Belper Rugby Club are now ready to hit the ground running.
Last weekend saw the Derby Road club carry out improvements and repairs to the facilities to ensure they were ready for the start of rugby, as pitch renovations continued following the devastation caused by floods in November 2019 and February this year.
Belper is one of 800 clubs across the country looking forward to the return of rugby, with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) recently giving the green light for clubs to start limited and restricted contact rugby training with inter-club non-contact fixtures able to be organised.
Plenty of hard work has gone into making the return to community rugby possible, with volunteers at the club certainly not shy in rolling up their sleeves to play their part.
“Over the NatWest RugbyForce weekend, our ladies team came down and they were knocking down walls, digging foundations for a new dugout – an old bus shelter we acquired – as well as painting, renovating the decking and gardening in the memorial garden,” said chairman Jackie Dyer.
“We also had a massive litter pick, where we found the insides of an old washing machine the flood had brought with it.
“The floods were there a long time and left their mark. The place is now spic and span for when we can get going.
“Over lockdown, we have fertilised, re-seeded and verti-drained the pitches and mowed them within an inch of its life to get the grass back growing. The result is the best set of grounds we have had for years.
“Pretty much all of it has been done by lads at the club who have given up their time and cracked on with it, which is amazing.”
Now in its twelfth year, NatWest RugbyForce is a nationwide programme developed with the RFU which provides an opportunity for rugby clubs to welcome team members and volunteers back to help make valuable improvements to their clubs.
With the programme now able to return safely, NatWest is offering more support for the rugby community than ever before with a record number of clubs getting involved in the programme this year.
NatWest has awarded grants ranging from £500 to £3000 to clubs to help renovate facilities and remain sustainable for longer in these challenging times.
To stay up to date with NatWest’s rugby activity, including NatWest RugbyForce Weekend 2020, follow @NatWest_Rugby and @EnglandRugby on Twitter.