New Haywards Heath clubhouse at Whitemans Green gets another step closer

The much-needed new multi-sport pavilion at Whitemans Green has taken a significant step forward as fund raising by the rugby club has crossed the £1 million mark with two new important additions.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 2:32 pm
CGI of the proposed new HHRFC Clubhouse continues to provide motivation for the Club as it works towards the fund raising target

A generous grant of £50,000 has been secured from a local family charitable trust that has longstanding connections with the club.

Following detailed conversations about the nature of the project and its benefits for the local community, the trust recognised the ways in which the new facilities will enable Heath to achieve its mission to become more inclusive - providing improved access to rugby and other sports for all ages, genders and abilities, while improving the current limited facilities for girls and women and improving disability access.

Once built, the new clubhouse will have a lift to the first floor capable of taking a wheelchair and corridors and changing rooms that have been designed to provide access for all players, referees and supporters.

The new clubhouse will provide enhanced facilities for both players and spectators at Whitemans Green

The RFU-approved plans cover all current stipulations for accessibility and inclusivity with disabled toilets on the ground floor and first floor of the new pavilion.

There will also be a dedicated section of the building for girls/women that can be secured from other changing areas yet still provide direct access to the showers and pitches.

The second source of additional funding has been secured by way of a £150,000 loan on preferential terms from the RFU which was possible with the assistance of Sussex RFU who appreciate the urgent need for improved facilities at Heath.

This will enable the club to service properly the many hundreds of senior, junior and mini players and their families and supporters who take part in rugby at Whitemans Green each and every week.

Philip Herbert, HHRFC commercial director, said: "We are very excited to have reached this milestone and very thankful for the financial support we have received from the local charitable trust - but cannot stop here since there is still work to be done.

"With the rising price of building materials post Brexit and post pandemic the 'clubhouse team' is keen to start building as soon as possible.

"We are looking at a staged building plan which we hope to agree with our project partner Fairfax, working together to find compromises and solutions to certain aspects of the proposed build.

"With the existing grant of £150,000 from MSDC not counted in this total, it highlights what the club has been able to achieve on its own.

"Moving forwards with the support of both Mims Davies MP and Cllr Jonathan Ash-Edwards we hope to reach our funding target and deliver state of the art facilities to benefit our rugby club, other sports clubs at Whitemans Green and also the wider Mid Sussex community in the very near future”.

After a recent meeting with local politicians, the club is hoping that the momentum created by its own efforts can be maintained and a possible joint application to Sport England can be supported by MSDC so that building can start in 2022.

Meanwhile on the pitch Heath Colts continue to excel winning 41-22 on Sunday in a high scoring match against Bognor – with a Colts squad of over 45 boys age 16 to 18, and a mini and junior section numbering over 450 children this season, the depth and potential for the future of rugby at Heath shows how essential the new facilities are for current and future generations of rugby players.

If any other Mid Sussex businesses would like to join Pets Corner, Kalimex and Adelphi in supporting this important community initiative by way of their corporate social responsibility agendas, please contact [email protected] for more information or a conversation about how you can become involved in this important project.