BRACKNELL RFC members are celebrating after landing a major cash windfall this week.
With the help of the News, the club has secured a whopping �50,000 grant to improve the ageing facilities at Lily Hill Park.
Bracknell, founded in 1955, has been based at the venue since the Sixties, with the current clubhouse, changing rooms and showers built a few years later.
But they are crying out for modernisation to match the massive growth the club has experienced, with more than 600 playing members aged from five to 50 years old on their books.
Now, the �50,000 grant from Sport England's Inspired Facilities will go towards the �83,000 the club needs to complete the much-needed renovations.
The work will include a complete renewal of ground-floor facilities at Lily Hill Park including better gender separation, an independent changing room for match officials plus improved access and facilities for the disabled.
Bracknell RFC chairman Ian Hallam stated: "I am delighted. This will allow us to renew a part of the club that had become, sadly, tired and overstretched.
"Bright and fresh facilities are an attraction to new players and will allow Bracknell RFC to benefit from the anticipated growth in interest in our sport as the 2015 Rugby World Cup comes to England and Rugby Sevens becomes an Olympic sport in Rio 2016." First XV captain Matt Brambley stands to benefit first hand from the upgrade.
He stated: "That the planned refurbishment can now go ahead is fantastic news.
"First-class facilities, combined with hard work on the training pitch, will help make Lily Hill Park a dominant home ground that we can all be proud of." BRFC grant acquisition officer David Ryan contacted the News for our help when applying for the grant.
And we were only too happy to assist by writing letters of support to Sport England.
"We're all very excited," beamed Ryan. "The showers at Bracknell used to be something to be endured rather than enjoyed.
"This money, along with smaller grants from Bracknell Forest Council, and the Rugby Football Federation, will signal the biggest facilities improvement at the club for more than a generation. Improved showering and changing will benefit all our players, not just the first team.
"Better gender separation will help us expand our ladies and girls sections, and, for referees, officiating at Bracknell will become an even more enjoyable experience." The news comes only a matter of weeks after the club won an �8,000 grant from Bracknell Forest Council to improve disabled access.
That money will be used to create a new toilet for the disabled, a new path to the clubhouse and better pitch-side access for wheelchairs.