£250,000 grant means Haywards Heath RFC clubhouse is fully funded

It’s all systems go for the new clubhouse at Haywards Heath Rugby Club after a large and key piece of funding was confirmed by the government.
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Following a prolonged and intense application process, it has been confirmed that HHRFC has secured a capital grant of £250,000 from the Community Ownership Fund operated by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities which means that, together with all pledges and donations already received, the initial Clubhouse build is now fully funded.

This grant was one of just nineteen that went to sports facilities across the UK in Round 3, Window 3 on Saturday 23 March, provided by the Government so people have a place to play sport and exercise.

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This latest award means that the team behind the HHRFC Clubhouse Project has independently raised a staggering £2.4m to build the new Clubhouse at Whitemans Green – an amazing achievement for a community grassroots rugby club run by volunteers.

The new HHRFC clubhouse is taking shape fast | Contributed pictureThe new HHRFC clubhouse is taking shape fast | Contributed picture
The new HHRFC clubhouse is taking shape fast | Contributed picture

The opportunity to submit an application to the Community Ownership Fund was identified by the Club itself in the middle of last year and considerable work over a number of months went into making sure the bid for funds was as strong as possible.

This evidenced amongst other things the Club’s broad geographic reach across the Mid Sussex area and beyond, its Rugby For All policy supported by Sweeptech Environmental Services that ensures those in financial hardship can play rugby, and its goal to be a multi-sport facility which will also become a hub for local community groups including the Scouts.

It also highlighted the building’s environmentally sustainable credentials which has recently seen the new Clubhouse feature as a case study on Clean Growth UK’s “Let’s Go! Net Zero” campaign for West Sussex.

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Commenting on the grant from the Community Ownership Fund, Mims Davies MP, HHRFC Club President said, “Knowing how hard the HHRFC project team has worked over the years to raise money for the new Clubhouse, I am truly delighted that this news confirming significant support from DLUHC will ensure the new building is fully funded. HHRFC has been rightly recognised for their impressive bid and ambition for the Mid Sussex community.”

The new clubohse is taking shape | Drone picture by Jon Else at AdelphiThe new clubohse is taking shape | Drone picture by Jon Else at Adelphi
The new clubohse is taking shape | Drone picture by Jon Else at Adelphi

This news followed another funding boost last week when The Grundfos Foundation gave the HHRFC Clubhouse Project a generous grant of €20,000. This recognised the Club’s efforts to deliver more sustainable solutions as part of the Project and the synergy between the Club and Grundfos as community-minded forward-thinking operations.

Adam Treen, who manages the local UK operation for Grundfos and is also a coach of the HHRFC U7s, spotted the opportunity for funding via the corporate social responsibility policy of his employer. He said: “I am proud to work for a company that seeks to give back to the community and excited to have been able to contribute to the success of the HHRFC Clubhouse Project that will support future generations in Mid Sussex.”

Phil Herbert, HHRFC Commercial Director added “We are delighted that this latest significant contribution from DLUHC when combined with all other funds we have raised over the last five years, including the generous contribution from The Grundfos Foundation, plus recent grants of £20,000 from Ansty & Staplefield Parish Council and £5,000 from Cuckfield Parish Council to name but a few have together pushed us over the line to reach our £2.4m target.

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"We are grateful for the tremendous help and support we have received from MSDC, our sponsors, partners, members, charitable foundations and other grant-givers of all political persuasions plus our local community. Our goal has always been to create an independent multi-sport community hub, the Whitemans Green Sports Club, that seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of the local area. We are now in a position to make this ambitious vision happen.”

The team at HHRFC are not stopping yet since they intend to go on and raise the funds needed to fully fit out the Clubhouse plus support their plans to build a gym and padel courts alongside the new building which will make sure it is commercially and socially sustainable for the Mid Sussex community. Watch this space since the sheer commitment of HHRFC to improve the facilities for the local community has created a momentum that is unlikely to be stopped any time soon.

For more information visit www.hhrfc.co.uk or www.whitemansgreensportsclub.com or www.letsgonetzero.net

Haywards Heath 41 Crawley 20

Counties 2 Sussex

A torrential downpour including a hail storm an hour before kick off was the same for both sides so Heath couldn't use that as an excuse for their slow and sloppy start. Failing to take the kick off cleanly for the second week in a row meant the home side were immediately under pressure from a fired up Crawley pack who won possession and immediately made it up and over the Heath try line after only a minute for a 0-5 lead.

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Heath tried to find their way back but a lack of focus saw mistakes that turned over the ball and within minutes they were back in their own 22 doing more defending. A transgression from skipper Wilf Bridges saw him in the bin for 10 minutes and Crawley turning the screw with another try for 0-10.

It wasn't until almost halfway through the first period that Heath buckled down and responded by stringing some passes together, working the overlap wide right for winger Matt Cains to score for a 5-10 scoreline.

Bridge's return to the park saw an added momentum and a break from the number 8 took him within two yards of the try line where the ball was quickly recycled for Elliott Higgin to crash over and score. Tom Wharton converted for a 12-10 lead showing the belated reboot of the home side had created the desired momentum.

This was confirmed when a Heath lineout on the ten metre line saw the ball moved to midfield where an electric break from centre Jack Lucas took him past defenders and crash through the last man for a score under the posts. Wharton chipped the extras over for 19-10.

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The bonus point try followed shortly after when another break from his own half from Lucas took Heath into the Crawley 22 from where the ball was moved back across midfield where outside half Christian Streater through a long pass which took three defenders out of the game allowing Matt Cains to stroll in for his second of the day and a 24-10 score-line at the break.

Half time saw Heath ease off again and lose concentration allowing Crawley to work their way up the pitch straight from the kick off for their third try which reduced the lead to nine points at 24-15.

Heath played some better looking rugby but couldn't string together any sustained pressure until they were awarded a penalty just to the right of the Crawley posts. Electing for the scrum gave Wilf Bridges the opportunity to pick and go down the blindside before offloading to supporting scrum half Jamie Thurston who nipped over in the corner for a well worked try. Wharton managed to slide over the conversion to see the Heath lead stretch out to 31-15.

Heath was back on track and another well worked move saw quick ball sent wide right for full back Wharton to go over in the corner for 36-15 before Crawley got themselves back on the board with a well deserved bonus point try.

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The last try of the game, and Heath's seventh, saw some great inter-passing between forwards and backs before Centre Gabe Moore, taking three defenders with him, powered over in the left hand corner from ten metres out for a final score of 41-20.

The bonus point win sees Heath stay ahead of the chasing pack with one more league game to play, away at second placed Shoreham, for the league decider on April 6.

Heath 1st Team Squad: Elliott Higgin; Will Purdy; Joe Elyas; Dan Shotton; Charlie Fenwick; Ellis Dubois; Wilf Bridges [capt]; Lewis Goodall; Jamie Thurston; Christian Streater; Matt Cains; Jack Lucas; Gabe Moore; Takhy Ndiaye Marrero; Tom Wharton; Harry Edwards; James Fleming; Sam Walker

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