CIRENCESTER Rugby Football Club has called on the public to help raise money for floodlights which will make the club more equipped for the dark, muddy winter months ahead.

The grassroots community sports club - situated in The Whiteway, Cirencester - has over 350 playing members but has limited use of the pitches during the winter.

Currently, the paddock is the only area in the club with floodlights so the other pitches rely heavily on natural light and good conditions.

This has caused an array of issues such as frequent cancellations of training and matches over the winter period due to bad weather and darkness.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: The girls team at Cirencester Rugby ClubThe girls team at Cirencester Rugby Club (Image: Cathryn Hage)

In addition, the overuse of the paddock often churns up the ground and turns it into an 'unusable bog'.

Their teams - which includes two senior league teams, a veterans team and a growing girls' section - often have to travel to other facilities in the district for training or have to practice inside.

New lighting would enable the club to expand their training sessions significantly and hold more frequent matches. 

A planning application for the new lights has already been approved by the Cotswold District Council, which has also contributed £50,000 towards this project.

The plan is to add full match lighting to Pitch 3 (nearest the clubhouse) and the main car park plus backlighting from Pitch 3 onto Pitch 2 for additional winter training.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cirencester rugby clubCirencester rugby club (Image: Cathryn Hage)

The funds raised will also go towards a power supply and associated works from the clubhouse to the floodlight box on the pitches.

Despite the CDC grant, the club are still £30,000 short due to rising costs so Cathryn Hage, vice chair of the club, decided to set up a JustGiving page.

Cathryn has been with the club for six years and is in charge of its social media accounts and sponsorship.

She said: "These new lights would be a huge game changer for the club.

"The pitches host training for multiple sports teams, not just rugby, including hockey and lacrosse so the lights would allow for lots more sport to take place in our town.

"The lights will help the club become better equipped to deal with this unpredictable weather, especially in the winter season.

"Only being able to use the paddock in the winter when it starts getting dark at 4.30pm is not sustainable.

"It often turns into an unusable bog means we have to cancel so many fixtures and training sessions because we just don't have the space.

"Hosting matches on dark pitches is a safety concern as it hinders the referee's and players' ability to see properly.

"Sport is so important to the community for physical, mental and social reasons.

"These new lights will enable the club to offer a better service and will hopefully encourage even more players to join.

"This project will also provide the flexibility to host evening matches and bring players and supporters into our club who for whatever reason cannot play or support at weekends."

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