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Take a look at the following news articles from the club here at Faversham. Click on each article to read more.

UPDATE ON COUNCIL DEVELOPMENT

A co-statement from club captain Billy Egleton and chairman Martyn Potts. Following the press release by Swale Borough Council last week, we feel it is important to update our members and supporters on our position regarding the redevelopment of the Recreation Ground. Following over twelve months of negotiations, we have agreed, in principle, the new Head of Terms to our lease of The Lodge. However, there are several issues that we have highlighted to SBC on numerous occasions that we feel are not being taken under due consideration. We now feel it is time to inform you, our members, our supporters, and our community of these issues. For twenty-six years, the rugby club has paid for and maintained all running costs of The Lodge without any contribution or help from SBC. Without the rugby club, The Lodge would undoubtedly still be in the same state of disrepair it was in when the club assumed responsibility for it in 1992. Throughout our tenure at The Lodge, the club has consistently ensured there was a member residing on site to ensure the security of the building and reduce the threat of vandalism. It is worth noting that only a matter of days after the current steward vacated the premises, the club was broken into. The club has retained the lease of the lodge since 1992 on a peppercorn rent from the council however, this has been justified due to the service we have offered the council in maintaining the building ourselves, a service that we continue to offer. Since moving in to the lodge 26 years ago, the club has not once asked for a single penny from the council. Instead the club has not only survived, but thrived through the collegiate efforts of those who comprise our membership and supporters. As such, we strongly feel that it is unreasonable for the council to impose a monthly rental charge to the rugby club that will threaten the club’s long term existence. Other than membership, the club’s only way of generating revenue is through bar sales. We were assured at the start of this process that our facilities would not be worsened. Instead we have been relegated to a situation whereby we have lost considerable and invaluable floor space of our beloved clubhouse, our storage facilities, and a significant portion of our outside area. We were also originally informed that the works would take place during the off-season, thus minimising the disruption to the club. Unfortunately, due to a delay in the tender process, this has proved to be nothing but empty platitudes as the club has since been informed the work would finish in September, then November and most recently, December. In essence, this translates into us having to function for over half of our season without a clubhouse. This massively restricts our ability to cater for our visitors who, as following the rugby ethos, should be fed and catered for following their match. Fortunately, we have been very kindly offered ‘The Castle Pub’ as a base however, being located in Oare this will cause a number of logistical issues for visiting teams. This delay also means that the club will have no source of revenue (apart from membership) for at least the first half of the season. Despite raising this to SBC on several occasions, we have not been offered a mutually agreeable solution. As the changing facilities are also not due for completion until December, the club has been forced to move their first home game to a neutral venue (Canterbury RFC) due to the council only recently confirming they will provide temporary basic changing facilities. The club is naturally concerned that with there only being two temporary changing facilities available how six sports teams will be able to use them and shower at the same time. The benefit that we offer the community, should and does, massively outweigh the financial gain to the council which any rental agreement would attract in the future. We currently have over 55 members who benefit socially, mentally and physically from playing or being part of Faversham Rugby Club. Our first team currently play in Kent 1 and are the highest playing team in the borough of Swale. Furthermore, we have a second team playing league rugby alongside a fully functional ladies team and an upcoming junior section. We offer discounted membership rates to students and unemployed players to ensure that whoever you are, you are able and welcome to join the town’s only community rugby club. We are incredulous that SBC insist on a fixed rental agreement being in place, despite the increasingly positive impact the club is having upon the wider community. The fixed rental agreement will threaten the club’s long term existence, and the club hopes that SBC can review and withdraw their rental proposal.

02 Nov 2019

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CHAIRMAN’S UPDATE ON COUNCIL DEVELOPMENT

Dear Members,As our existing tenancy at the Recreation Ground Lodge comes to an end I'm writing to provide you with an update on the upcoming changes to the Clubhouse and the ongoing negotiations with the Council over the terms for its use. Hopefully this will serve to answer many of the questions about the future of the Club and the Clubhouse which are circling among members and those in the local community. Swale Borough Council have now started to implement their Recreation Ground redevelopment project, which includes the Recreation Ground Lodge, home to Faversham Rugby Club since 1992. The most notable change for the Club will be to the Clubhouse itself which is due to undergo a significant restructure. The designs for the Clubhouse have not been finalised by the Council as yet, but we do know that the intended end result is a much reduced area for the Club to use. The front half of the existing Clubhouse is to become a Council-contracted convenience kiosk and this space will no longer be usable for the Club. This will certainly prove challenging on busy game days, particularly as we already exceed capacity before the Clubhouse reduction takes place. We now know from the Council that building work will start when the 2018-19 rugby season concludes in April and the work to the Lodge is scheduled to run until September 2019. During this time the Club will not be usable and will be unable to host the usual charity fundraisers and social events which the local community is accustomed to attending over the summer. We also know that following the redevelopment the existing parking and storage will be removed. We are waiting to hear a workable solution from the Council for match day parking for players and supporters. Their current proposal that we use the already over capacity parking on Park Road or the industrial estate on Jubilee Way has many practical problems and is unlikely to be favourable with local residents and businesses. The future storage location for training and match day equipment also remains to be agreed but we expect to hear a solution to this before the equipment is due to be moved out for building work in April. We are also in the process of negotiating the terms for our stay in our Clubhouse following the works. Unfortunately assurances from Councillor David Simmons that the Club would not be worse off have proved to have been empty platitudes and the reality is quite different. Notably, despite reducing the size of the Clubhouse, the Council are also seeking an increase in rent from the Club. The full financial impact of this increased rent/reduced club-area double-hit remains to be seen but it is likely to test the Club's finances and potentially its existence. As Faversham RUFC is entirely run by volunteers it will prove difficult to make savings but changes will likely be necessary, depending of the Council's financial demands. Every effort possible will be made to ensure the impact on the Club's rugby playing capability is kept to a minimum. We may have to ask for more from already overstretched members in order to keep the Club running and ensure Faversham is not deprived of a vital community sporting service. We are determined to keep Faversham Rugby Club at the Recreation Ground in the heart of Faversham to preserve the community spirit of the Club and to help the Recreation Ground serve its original purpose – to provide recreation facility for the community. We hope that the Council keeps it financially viable to do so. We understand these issues may be concerning to members and the local community but please do get in contact with us or your local Swale Borough Councillor if you have questions regarding these changes. Kind regards, Faversham Rugby Union Football Club

01 Nov 2019

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