Pendle rugby club seeks funding for changing rooms

A RUGBY club whose players have to get changed half-a-mile away is seeking funding to build a new clubhouse at its pitch.

Pendle Phoenix Rugby Club was formed in 2006 to offer a safe environment for children to play rugby, and it currently plays home matches at Hodge House playing fields, in Nelson.

But there are no changing rooms at Hodge House, so home and away players have to change at facilities at the Swinden Hall playing fields.

Now the club wants to bid for funding from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to build its own facility, which could eventually include a bar and function room.

Kieron Roberts, Pendle Council’s principal development officer in parks and recreation, said: “The club hires the community centre at Hodge House for every home match and pays the standard hire fee. They have access to the building when training mid-week for toilets, and for first aid if needed.

“Unfortunately, there are no changing rooms on site. As a result, both home and away teams have to get changed at the changing rooms at Swinden Hall playing fields (off Cravendale Avenue) and then walk to, and from, Hodge House before, and after, matches.

“This is not ideal, especially when the juniors are playing and, as such, the development of changing rooms on site is a must.”

The council is now set to give the club a 25-year lease on the land so it can bid for funding.

Mr Roberts said: “They are looking to secure grant funding from the Rugby Football Union and other sources.

“This would provide the club with long-term stability in terms of having the requisite changing facilities at Hodge House, and would enable them to develop the club further.

“To enable them to apply for funding, it would be necessary for them to have a long-term lease in place. Without this, the proposed scheme would be undeliverable.”

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