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May 23, 2021

Bracknell RFC Ready To Welcome Back Fans

Berkshire Rugby Union club Bracknell RFC is ready to come back fighting as England’s second national lockdown comes to an end.

Bracknell is participating in GiveToLocal’s Focus Clubs initiative, which will help the historic club secure sustainable funding and rebuild in the wake of the pandemic.

However, this latest lockdown has been the most financially challenging period yet for the club.

And the government’s announcement that grassroots sport will be returning in December comes as a much-needed ray of hope.

Club chairman Ian Wilson has been working tirelessly to ensure the club is ready for the restart.

“The announcement is fantastic because we can get the clubhouse open again and finally get some rugby back,” said Ian.

“A small number of staff have been working throughout lockdown to prepare for us reopening.

“We’ve taken the opportunity with lockdown to tidy the clubhouse and make sure we’re still COVID secure.

It’s been a really frustrating time because we were starting to gain momentum and feel positive with our new way of operating pre-lockdown 2.

“But, of course, the gates came down again and brought things to a stop.”

Ian is hoping the Bracknell area will be categorised in tier one so that they can bring as many players back to the club as possible in December.

“There's a strong suggestion that we’ll probably end up in tier one,” he said.

“That would be great for us because it enables us to get groups together to play – it’ll be maximum six people per group but we’ve got to be grateful that we’re even getting that.

“I’m really looking forward to getting the club moving again and obviously it’s what we need financially too.

“But when you run a club that could normally bring up to 600 people in you’ve got to keep one eye on safety at all times. Bringing money in is great but it’s about making sure we do things sensibly and safely.

“Before this lockdown our staff and members were fantastic in that capacity. Everyone was adapting and I know we can do it again.”

The government has also confirmed that as many as 4,000 spectators can attend sporting events again in December, as long as venues follow COVID guidelines and overall capacities allow.

And Ian can’t wait to get fans through the gates again after months of emptiness at the ground.

“It’s the dream scenario that we’ve really all been waiting for since March,” said Ian.

“To get fans in before Christmas, even if it’s just for a friendly, and to have people watching rugby here again would be absolutely tremendous.”

Bracknell has been working with GiveToLocal throughout November as a part of the Focus Clubs initiative that aims to secure sustainable funding for community clubs.

“The finances of this club are fundamental to its future and we look at opportunities to work with organisations like GiveToLocal as key to helping us survive,” said Ian.

“It’s maybe not the first two or three months that you see the effect but it’s the next two or three years that we’re looking towards.

“Being able to access additional income through the GiveToLocal platform is going to be massively important in helping us continue to provide rugby for the next generation.”