Nuneaton Rugby Club is attempting to raise £20,000 to ‘keep them afloat’ after being financially hit by Covid-19.
The Nuns, who are based at Liberty Way in Attleborough, were forced to close in March when lockdown measures were imposed to help stop the spread of the virus.
While Nuneaton Borough Football Club have been playing on the surface before paying customers, the rugby club’s last home match was more than seven months ago.
That is due to the sport’s governing body, the Rugby Football Union – working within government advice and guidelines – laying down strict rules regarding ‘return to play’. The most recent update indicated the earliest full-contact games could resume is February.
Only the top level of the men’s sport, the Gallagher Premiership, has restarted with games recommencing in mid-August under rigorous testing procedures and before no spectators.
More recently, the elite level of the women’s game returned as the Allianz Premier 15s kicked off.
Many people within the sport are fearing that the 2020/21 season for the community game may not happen at all, leaving numerous clubs in an unenviable situation, especially those that run their own bars like Nuneaton RFC.
A gofundme.com appeal has been started with an initial target of £20,000 to stay afloat, provide kit and equipment for the estimated 300 youngsters who train at the club every season and to fix machinery to allow ground staff volunteers to keep the pitches in good condition.
Appeal creator Michael Harris said on the gofundme page: “These are challenging times for grass roots rugby. Like many local sports clubs, The Nuns, face a challenging few months. With no fixtures for many months, no sponsorship and limited income we need to raise funds to keep the club operating.”
Chairman Steve Bird this week issued an open letter on the club website urging people to support them during this challenge period.
It read: “The club has been in existence since 1879 thanks to the supporters, members, sponsors, match day activities and the hard work of many people.
“Now, more than ever, we need everyone that supports The Nuns to come together to help steer us through the months ahead. With no income from the bar, match day dinners, catering, team sponsors and other match day revenue we face the challenges of keeping the club afloat with no support from the governing body or the government. We need your help and support!”
Fund-raising rugby matches, sponsored bike rides and other activities are being planned to raise funds while senior squad members have been volunteering their own time to help bring in some much-needed revenue to the club, which normally benefits from hosting other functions such as weddings, birthday celebrations, wakes and meetings during non-Covid times.
Mr Bird’s letter concluded by saying: “It is my belief that Nuneaton RFC will exit this testing period of its history, stronger, as a united club, with members working towards improving the club for the benefit of all.”