AFTER four years of graft Linlithgow Rugby Club has secured the first cash injection for an ambitious £400,000 project.
It has been awarded £45,000 from the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities fund which it hopes to put towards creating an indoor training facility next to the clubhouse at Mains Park which could also be used by other town groups.
Club president Craig Young said: “This is excellent news for the rugby club and for our work in promoting the game locally.
‘‘This good news will spur us on and we are extremely grateful to the Scottish Government, Scottish Rugby and Sportscotland for their support.”
The club has also applied for £200,000 from Sportscotland, which has approved their move to the next stage of the process.
Craig added: “This double recognition of the strength of our case for this facility, as we set it out in our development plan, is particularly pleasing.”
The rugby club has submitted its designs to West Lothian Council for planning permission which it hopes will be decided over the next few months, and it is working on a business model for the project, estimated at taking two years to complete.
As well as applying for grants, the club must also hit the ground running with local fundraising as it needs to raise £50-100,000 over the next 18 months with the help of its 400 members. The club wants to develop an indoor facility after players were forced off the outdoor pitch in recent winters due to severe weather.
Craig said: “The teams need to train indoors during the winter so they are better prepared when they come out, so we had to think about what to do with the space we have.”
An added incentive is that the all-year training facility could be used by other groups in the town including football and hockey club, as well as non-sporting organisations.
Craig said: “This is just the beginning. We are positive - you have got to invest to move forward. This facility will be there for a lot of people in the town to use.”
The indoor training facility would have an artificial pitch, changing rooms and a conditioning suite.
The rugby club is also looking forward to its 50th anniversary in 2020 and, by then, hopes to upgrade the clubhouse roof, improve the insulation, and create better storage facilities.
Billy McAdam, president at Linlithgow Rose Community Football Club, wished the club all the best adding: “Any type of training facility for Linlithgow would be good and if both football and rugby can use it - that’s great.
‘‘We’re working on our own plans for Kettilstoun at the moment and these things take time but it will be worth it.”
Linlithgow Ladies’ Hockey Club could also make use of an indoor training pitch.
Treasurer Morag Fordyce said: “This is a facility that would be good for us.
‘‘We now have two teams training and playing from August to May and the winter months can create the same problems for us as we use the outdoor artificial pitch at Linlithgow Academy.
‘‘We are restricted with the sports centre as there are a lot of groups that use it so this is something we would be interested in.
‘‘We would have to look at prices but sometimes we have to go to Falkirk or Grangemouth to play and that adds to our costs as well.”