Launched in June 2009, the one-off funding initiative is the result of a £500,000 fund made available from the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust for the purpose of benefiting the community, enhancing facilities and widening participation.
As a result of this financial support, £1.3 million of match funding was leveraged by the successful rugby clubs, as grants were available on the basis of 'matching' the clubs own funds on a pound for pound basis, providing an overall investment of £1.8million into grassroots rugby in Wales.
WRU affiliated and member clubs were eligible to apply for funding and hundreds of applications were received requesting support, showing the vital role rugby club facilities play in local areas. 36 clubs were finally selected by the Trust to receive a grant of up to £20,000 for specified projects that best benefited the club and local public.
Bridgend Ravens RFC is one of the clubs successful in their bid for funding and plan to invest in an affordable gym facility to encourage the wider community to keep fit and build confidence, with disabled access and availability of specialized equipment Currently the club is drawing up plans to renovate their hospitality boxes to create a large area that offers training for beginners or those rehabilitating through to elite sports people.
Bridgend Ravens RFC Director, David Rees said, Bridgend Ravens RFC Director, David Rees said, "It is great to be awarded a grant for such a worthy facility. Our aim is to transform our rugby club into a sporting centre that will, in the future, benefit everyone and attract all members of the community into the club. "
Projects selected for funding showed great variety and innovation in how to maximise the use of facilities. Llandovery RFC will use their grant to help install a wind turbine within their club grounds to provide electricity for the clubhouse, create an educational benefit for juniors and reduce carbon emissions. This will enable savings to be redirected towards the club's core constitutional rugby and community objectives.
Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust Chairman, Russell Goodway comments, "The Trust is delighted to help clubs fund improvements to their facilities through the WRU Facility Grants Scheme. Our national sport really does factor at the heart of each community and the facilities available are of the upmost importance. We are looking forward seeing how the projects develop and the positive effects they have on the club and local public."
WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis added, "Grass roots rugby clubs are the heart and soul of the game in Wales. Rugby clubs across our nation are often at the centre of our communities providing sporting, social and healthy living benefits. They are the glue which holds so many of our towns and villages together. Most of the monies raised by the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust are generated by rugby matches at the Millennium Stadium so we are delighted that the Trust is investing back into the grassroots game in this way. Rugby can define us as a nation and it can unite us as a nation. A winning Wales at the highest level needs the game to thrive at the grass roots.
"Thousands of volunteer coaches, team managers, match officials and administrators around Wales do an amazing job in nurturing our young talent - but it is important that the facilities available to our players and coaches match that level of commitment."
The Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust was created in 2001 through a unique arrangement between the Millennium Commission and the WRU-owned and operated Millennium Stadium. A ticket levy is received by the Trust on all tickets sold for public events. The Trust, managed by a board of voluntary trustees, has the difficult task of allocating this money and does so by providing grant support to inspiring projects throughout Wales. To date they have awarded over £3 million worth of grants.