Withycombe RFC are all set to open their Raleigh Park gates this Saturday (April 17) when they will look to welcome back members, old and new, to what is now a freshly refurbished outdoor hospitality and beer garden.
The ‘new look’ to things has come about thanks to some serious industry by members. Over the past 12 months the door at the club have been shut, but the work has gone on at good pace ‘behind-the-scenes’.
The work force, made up from the many club members and other volunteers, has been hard at it and now the club is home to refurbished bar, toilets, club house and outdoor space and is most certainly ‘ready’ to host Covid-safe events.
It was back in 1924 that the club was launched very much as a traditional community-based sports club with one men’s team and now, three years shy of its centenary, the Raleigh Park club is now home to 13 teams from across a wide range of ages, genders and abilities, and is continuing to diversify with plans for regular walking rugby and mixed-gender touch rugby events.
The clubhouse also serves the community by hosting events from playgroups to Zumba, and everything in between.
So, what of future plans for the club? What is clear is that the club has been the victim of its own success to such a degree that the community needs for the space have outgrown the available facilities at Raleigh Park.
Plans are afoot to double the Raleigh Park changing facilities so that the club can mark their centenary year with a statement of intent to keep growing and supporting rugby in the community.
Planning permission has already been received for the works and the club has a dedicated fundraising team in place to deal with raising the necessary finance. Community events, grant funding and member contributions are all part of the fundraising plan.
The fundraising project has so far been approved by local MP, Simon Jupp, who has endorsed the new plans saying: “I was absolutely delighted to visit Withycombe RFC recently. The club has a fantastic spirit and provides a great focus for rugby in the community.
“The club’s plans to extend their facilities, to provide yet more services to the people of Exmouth is something I fully support. I wish them well in their fundraising efforts and look forward to helping out.”
The club are keen to garner further support going forward and ask that if there are individuals or business owners who would like to support the ongoing work, then contribution would be most welcome.
New members are always made very welcome at Raleigh Park and the club will be looking to say hello to plenty of faces, old and new, from this weekend.