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Update From Beckenham RFC Chair Colin Digby

Update From Beckenham RFC Chair Colin Digby

The Committee29 Nov 2023 - 09:29
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Quarter 4 Update

Dear BRFC Member,

On 17th December we will be having our annual Christmas Draw. Amongst a brilliant day of festivities and fun, we have a raffle. 1st price £750, second prize £250 and prizes donated from sponsors, teams, and individuals. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and this year, more than any other, we are asking the club to come together and support this, as we aim to raise funds to complete the final stages of 125 extension. So, I ask for you all to support the draw. After all, it is OUR club.

I am delighted to report a strong start to the 2023/24 season across the club, with the Ladies 1st XV most recently beating London Irish Ladies 20-24 and the Men’s 1st XV have won all but one fixture to date, currently sitting at the top of the league table. The depth and levels of commitment across the senior sections are particularly strong and there have been some strong performances across the 2’s, 3’s and Vets. The Academy, Junior and Mini sections have equally enjoyed strong starts to the season with many playing cup games and attending various festivals, and we are experiencing record attendance levels at training across the Club. Thanks to all the players, coaches, and managers for all their hard work and commitment.

Off the pitch, there has been a lot going on:

  • The Events team have successfully hosted several social events: Sponsors lunch; Kids Halloween Party. Forthcoming events include GinGo, a Race Night and a Xmas party. A big thank you to Lia Green, Sharon McHallum and all who work so hard to make these events a success.

  • Our Sponsorship team has been engaging with new and existing sponsor partners and have made a material difference to the engagement with these strategically important relationships. This has made a real financial impact to the club, as sponsorship income is up by over 200%, so many thanks to Colin Cooper, who has led this work, and to Bree Hill who has led on the Ladies sponsorship.
  • The 125-Build extension is now only a few weeks away from its initial completion. We expect this to be a game changer for our commercial viability and will provide a new function room and a threefold capacity increase to kitchen facilities. We still need to invest further to bring the broader facilities up to scratch, but we are making some great progress. We hope to be opened for the Christmas season and would like to thank Lee McGinley and his LMG team who have been amazing.
  • We plan to upgrade the coffee bar area in the former player’s lounge and have applied for an RFU grant for £10,000, under the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 Impact Programme, aimed at social space refurbishments, to cover this and other upgrades to social spaces across the club, including a permanent BBQ facility. These initiatives will require the club to match the sum donated by the RFU but should expedite our ability to deliver these improvements.
  • Earlier in the year we applied for an RFU grant for £5,000 to upgrade the ladies’ toilets. Having been successful in our application, we have now completed these works and took the opportunity to replace the flooring in the men’s toilets. We will aim to improve the remaining toilet facilities, as funding permits.
  • Additionally, a “Club Scrub” team completed the staining of the wooden exterior to the club over the summer, which has made a big improvement to the look of the club exterior.
  • With the dead trees along the fence line with Stanhope Park now predominantly cleared, the work on improving this area continues, again pending funds being available and the ground being firm enough to move containers. Additional storage is urgently needed, and we are working on this in parallel now that the trees are cleared.
  • We have recently installed new Team dugouts on the far side of pitch 1, next to the scoreboard. I would like to thank Lee McGinley for installing the concrete bases and John Griffiths for all his hard work designing, building, and installing the frameworks. They look amazing and have been delivered for a fraction of the cost if we had bought them.

We aim to invest club funds wisely, seeking grants, and prioritising projects that yield a commercial return, such as the extension, the kitchen and bar areas. There remains a long list of other developments that won’t be funded by grants and won’t necessarily deliver a commercial yield.

Floodlights and pitch irrigation firmly come to mind. Replacement of 30-year-old pitch 1 floodlights with LED lights and the installation of incremental LED floodlights on pitch 2 & 3 are urgently needed. Hot summers followed by wet autumns, coupled with the increasing demands on the usage of pitches also drives an urgent need for an irrigation system to deliver a playing surface that is fit for all playing sections. These incremental capital projects will require further fundraising and in totality our collective target is £100,000. We will be forming a fundraising team to drive these efforts across the club and welcome volunteers to get involved. The sooner we raise the money, the sooner these facilities can be delivered. For those who wish to donate towards these various initiatives we also have a JustGiving Link

None of the work listed above, could happen without the many volunteers who work across the club, and I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank everyone who steps in to help and make our club a success. We always have the need for more volunteers across the club and would welcome anyone with spare time and energy to reach out to any of the management committee.

Please do visit the Club website and keep an eye out for all the latest news, results, and events on the main site, as well as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

We continue to embrace the "One Club" ethos and as we succeed on and off the field, we share in it as “One Club”.

I wish all our members all the very best for the festive season and a healthy and safe new year.

Colin Digby
Beckenham RFC Chair

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