Eccles Rugby Club have raised over £20,000 so far through their Covid Relief Crowdfunder and are now looking to reach their stretched target of £40,000.
The Crowdfunder was launched on Friday 26th February to raise funds for essential maintenance and ground improvements, after Covid-19 stopped club income.
So far, the club has raised close to £24,000 with donations from current and former players as well as Sport England – who pledged a generous £8,000.
The communications officer at the club, Chris Gaffey, admits he is ‘delighted’ at the reaction to the Crowdfunder.
He said: “We smashed through the £10,000 mark on day one, which took us by surprise, and by day two we had passed through our initial target of £20,000.
“We were hopeful of reaching it but we were absolutely delighted to have received such generosity so swiftly – it shows that there is a lot of love out there for this historic club!
“It was a bit like scoring a try in the opening minute of a game, everyone at the club was buzzing, everyone was very excited.
“Things have, of course, now settled to a steadier pace and we are now reaching for a stretch target of £40,000.
“There is still three weeks to go and we are excited to see where that momentum we have built up can take us.”
The money that has been raised so far will go towards three main maintenance projects that were scheduled to take place last summer.
Gaffey said: “A big part of what we are planning to do is improving the overspill car park by improving the stone surface and adding some safety measures to make it safer for our club members.
“Security is the second thing we needed to improve, we put a massive investment into our brand new 3G pitch in summer 2019 and we hire it out to lots of different sports teams.
“Unfortunately, it has suffered from vandalism so we want to implement 24-hour protection for the grounds and facilities with a new CCTV system.
“Then, connected with both of these is the floodlights which we have had at the club for 20 years and quite a few of them have started to fail.
“We are looking to replace these units with new LED items which will be more cost effective and will allow us to have rugby training in the evenings.”
If the club can reach their stretched target of £40,000 they will also be able to complete a pergola extension on the entrance of the clubhouse.
This would allow spectators to spend more time outdoors, while also having some protection from the weather, something which Gaffey believes would make a ‘big difference’ to the club experience.
He said: “It would allow us to do things we have talked about doing for a long time and it would really change the way that we operate.
“It is really going to expand on the club’s offer and would make a big difference for the future of the club, going forwards.”
You can donate to the Crowdfunder by clicking here, and help Eccles RFC reach their ultimate goal of £40,000.
“Every single donation pledge we receive is appreciated, no matter how small or large, it is going to make a direct difference to the club experience.
“We very much want the town to think of us as the ‘town team’ so if they could support us we would really appreciate it” Gaffey said.