- Chesham Rugby Club to open new clubhouse this year
- The Buckinghamshire side have used Gift Aid to help raise funds
- Find out more about how your club could use Gift Aid here
“A bit confused” is how club secretary Steven Morris describes the reaction of most new visitors to Chesham Rugby Club.
“At the moment we have a classroom which is our club room and a shed which is our bar. I think we forget how odd it looks for outsiders. ‘What’s going on’ is a response we get a lot.”
Since losing their clubhouse in 2012 due to redevelopment at the school where they are based, this year Chesham will start work on their new facility which Morris believes will transform the club.
‘Bucks’ friendliest club’
Despite a slightly transient existence over the last 35 years since being founded at the Red Lion pub, Chesham have flourished in an area surrounded by more established clubs.
They now have three senior men’s teams, a women’s team and 350 minis and junior players.
“I don’t think a clubhouse makes a club but what it does do is it gives you security and a sense of purpose,” says Morris.
And so Chesham set themselves a target of raising £750,000 to build a new clubhouse.
“The clubhouse will allow us to create a sustainable model and guarantee our future survival. It will allow us to invest a lot more in developing the next generation of players.”
For Morris the clubhouse will play a big part in cementing their place as ’Buckinghamshire’s friendliest club’.
“A local newspaper ran the competition over twenty years ago, we won and then they never ran it again so we hold the title.
“It started as a bit of a joke but now it is a big part of who we are as a club. When people arrive at Chesham we want to come across as a good, welcoming, helpful club and this new facility will really help that.”
The benefits of Gift Aid
To raise that significant financial target, Chesham has used Gift Aid claims to raise a large portion of the sum.
“Gift Aid has been a significant contributor for us. We have just put in a claim for £50,000, a lot of money that really helps us reach that goal.”
By registering as a Community Amateur Sports Club, clubs are eligible to claim Gift Aid on donations from individuals. A club can claim £25 for every £100 donated under gift aid (subject to conditions) and for Chesham that was particularly useful when a benefactor donated £150,000.
“We have used Gift Aid claims when members do charity challenges and we have also sold bricks to fund the new clubhouse using a gift aid form. Over £32,000 worth of bricks have been sold to date. “
Supported and advised by Jason Bowers, an RFU Area Facilities Manager, the club is now well on target to unveil the new clubhouse this Christmas and Morris says it will be a landmark moment.
“I genuinely believe it can be quite transformative for us. It will give us a real home and allow us to build for the future."
To find out more about how your club could save money or find ways to fund new facilities, click here.