Whitecraigs rugby, a home from home

A Scottish rugby club have boosted their training facilities.

Whitecraigs have extended their floodlighting at West Lodge allowing a significant increase in their capacity to train their age group players in the winter months.

The East Renfrewshire club were granted £10,000 by the CashBack for Communities initiative and the funds have been put to use extending the floodlighting for the second and part of the third XV pitches as well as illuminating a small training area.

CashBack for Communities is a government led scheme where the Scottish Courts service and law enforcement agencies recover the corrupting gains of criminals and invest that money back into the local community with a particular focus on youth.

Scottish Rugby uses part of the £3,691,200 it receives to work with community rugby clubs to ensure they provide more places and opportunities for young people both in and off the pitch.

This is done by supporting the clubs in their pursuit of volunteers, coaches, and facilities to meet their overall aim of youth engagement and development.

Jon Jewitt, the President of Whitecraigs Rugby Club said: “Whitecraigs’ youth section has been expanding year on year, mainly due to our strong Development Officer partnership with the Scottish Rugby and East Renfrewshire Council.

“From this we have been identified as a Community Sports Hub, and we have raised the profile of both the sport and club throughout our area.”

The club are regarded in the local community as a family-orientated place thanks to the cultivation of a dedicated volunteer base. For example the club have recently commissioned the construction of a toddler play area, due to membership suggestions, so that the clubhouse will be long associated with a welcoming environment for families with young children.

Jewitt said: “I do feel that Scottish Rugby is making a firm commitment to community rugby. For us our relationship with the regional development officer for Glasgow South, Glen Tippett, is excellent and he is always on call for input and advice on rugby matters.”

Chris Paterson Scotland’s most capped player arrived at the club last season with the 6 Nations Trophy in hand creating an incredible buzz around the area This saw a massive response, particularly by the youth members which was topped off by several lucky players being invited to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of being part of the build-up of the game at Murrayfield.

Last weekend RBS Rugby Force saw between 60 and 70 members taking part in the event, which involved activities ranging from general cleaning of the neglected corners of the West Lodge to landscaping, to rebuilding of dry-stone walls. Thanks to some wonderful weather, the day was finished with a barbeque and for those with some energy remaining a game of touch rugby took place between parents and younger players.

Jewitt said: “The day was very much a success.”