Jed-Forest feel the force as bank funding benefits Borders clubs

Jed-Forest is one of just two Scottish rugby clubs to be awarded ‘Hero Club’ status in this year’s Royal Bank RugbyForce programme of funding awards.

By Ralph Mellon
Friday, 17th July 2020, 3:30 pm
Jed-Forest club president Paul Cranston (archive image by Alwyn Johnston)
Jed-Forest club president Paul Cranston (archive image by Alwyn Johnston)

Nearly 120 grassroots clubs across the country are set to benefit from vital financial support, to help them make the most of their facilities and run a successful club, both on and off the pitch.

‘RugbyForce’ sees Scottish Rugby and its sponsor, the Royal Bank of Scotland, donate funds to a club for maintenance of its premises. Often, groups of players, past and present, visit the club and help do work such as cleaning, painting and gardening.

It’s possible too that some Scottish international players may be visiting Riverside Park when a date is re-scheduled for Jed-Forest’s big day. RugbyForce weekend – which complements the funding – was due to take place on August 8-9 but has been called off because of the coronavirus crisis.

However, to relieve financial pressure on community clubs, the funding is being released in advance of a rescheduled weekend date, which may be in October or November.

Jedforest & Jedforest Mini Rugby Club is set for £1000 and full event support after gaining ‘hero’ classification – with Loch Lomond Rugby Club being the other.

Jed will put its new funds towards giving children of all ages and skillsets the opportunity to take up the sport and get involved with the club, while creating a safe and friendly environment focused on fun and equality.

Dave McKay, Jedforest Mini’s convenor, who prepared the club’s application, said everyone at the club was thrilled, adding: “We’re excited to use the funding towards encouraging more children in Jedburgh to take up the sport and get involved with the club.

“We want to create a friendly and welcoming space for the community to come together to have fun and make new friends. With the recent events of the coronavirus pandemic, this is something that is more needed now than ever before.”

Club president Paul Cranston hoped the weekend occasion, whenever it arrived, would generate more community interest in the club, with the blend of past and present Jed-Forest players and, hopefully, the visit of some internationals.

The mini section had grown by around 20-25 per cent and Mr McKay had wanted to push that success strongly in the application, he added.

The club itself also tweeted: “A great honour for Jed. Thank you for choosing us. Keep an eye for the date, as all help will appreciated.”

Individual sums of £250 are also due to be paid out to 14 other Borders clubs under the scheme, including Jed Thistle, Gala, Gala YM, Hawick, Hawick Harlequins, Hawick Linden, Hawick Youth Rugby, Kelso, Langholm, Melrose Rugby, Peebles, Selkirk, Selkirk Youth and Duns.

Malcolm Buchanan, chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Scotland Board, said: “We are delighted to be funding these amazing clubs in this year’s Royal Bank RugbyForce programme. We know how much of an impact this funding has made to grassroots clubs over the past 12 years and the benefits to their members and communities.

“Even in the light of the coronavirus pandemic, team spirit and excitement for the game remains strong and we want to ensure that our grassroots clubs across the country can continue to provide a sense of community as we navigate our way through these challenging times.”

Since the launch of the Royal Bank RugbyForce programme 12 years ago, over half a million pounds has been distributed to amateur clubs across Scotland.

Royal Bank RugbyForce has helped over 75 per cent of clubs in Scotland via practical and financial assistance to help clubs; improve their facilities, attract new members and make rugby clubs more than just a place to play rugby.

Each year, clubs can sign up through a grant application process. Their entries are then assessed based on agreed criteria with Scottish Rugby – i.e. funding prioritised based on strength of application and positive impact the proposed grant will have on the club’s viability as a long-term business.

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