All change for Lewes Rugby Club

The clubhouse has had its first refit in 35 years thanks to the Transforming Social Spaces Grant
The clubhouse has had its first refit in 35 years thanks to the Transforming Social Spaces Grant

Rugby, cricket and football players will be in for a treat when facilities at Stanley Turner Recreation Ground in Lewes undero their first major renovation since 1979.

Plans for an overhaul at the Kingston Road recreation ground were announced this week.

Playing host to 800 men, women and junior players of Lewes Rugby Club, Lewes Priory Cricket Club and Lewes Sunday Football League, the outdated changing facilities will be revamped thanks to money allocated by Lewes District Council.

After a five-year wait, Lewes Sports Club (a joint rugby and cricket club management group) is celebrating following confirmation that Lewes District Council will spend £158,000 as part of the Project Turnaround scheme.

The sports club set up the scheme in 2009 with the hope that, by 2014, additional funding could be secured to renovate the ground’s changing rooms, provide disabled facilities and improve the overall green footprint.

The transformation will begin on the ground floor of the clubhouse in April 2015 and continue throughout the summer, ready for the start of the 2015/16 rugby and football season.

Four of the team changing rooms will be redeveloped. The layout will provide self-contained changing and showering facilities, as well as eco-friendly windows and lighting.

The sports club hopes that, if affordable, a renewable energy plant for hot water will reduce running costs for Lewes taxpayers.

Funding for the second stage of improvements will be sought again from the RFU, as well as the English and Welsh Cricket Board. The club hopes this will result in two further team changing rooms, two officials changing rooms, a first aid room and a kit store, on the first floor of the building.

Peter Sealey, of Lewes RFC, said: “I am delighted the Stanley Turner Ground will finally be able to provide disabled facilities and changing rooms, in line with child safeguarding regulations for football, cricket and rugby players and their parents and supporters.”

Lewes RFC has also been chosen as a recipient of the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) Transforming Social Spaces Grant, ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The RFU committed £10m to create a network of over 500 Lead Up & Legacy centres, aimed at improving English rugby participation.

The £10,000 grant plus £10,000 from the club is an investment by the rugby club into the long term sustainability of the clubhouse for the wider community.