Wyke ARLFC chairman Jason Whomack has spoken of his delight after the club finally secured funding for state-of-the-art facilities – having used an old air-raid shelter since 1948.
The move to new changing facilities and pavilion at Wyke Park will be the culmination of over 20 years’ hard work towards gaining funding and planning permission for the move.
The air-raid shelter used by Wyke for well over half a century was recently deemed unfit for use and the club have been using nearby school facilities.
Following talks with the RFL, Sport England and Bradford Council, the club have found the £170,000 needed to build a new modular changing facility and pavilion.
Whomack said: “Several efforts have been thwarted at various stages of either the funding process or the planning procedures.
“On occasions the club have not met stringent funding criteria or, on one occasion, the club were looking to build the pavilion on a piece of land but the council chose to build Appleton Academy, and so we had to step to one side.
“Recently though the club have been in talks with the RFL, Sport England and Bradford Council. We have been working tirelessly for the last six months and have finally secured the £170,000 funding required to build a modular changing facility and pavilion that we can be proud of.
“And on Wednesday, January 8 we also received planning permission from Bradford Council to go ahead with the project. Knowing things are actually happening now is exciting news.”
The changing-room facilities will cater for 40 players, and the pavilion will provide a fine setting to watch the on-field action.
Whomack explained: “The plan is to have two very large changing rooms capable of seating 20 burly rugby players in each.
“There will be showers for both teams, a changing facility for the match official, four toilets - including a disabled toilet - a kitchen facility and finally a clubroom that will allow volunteers and supporters to sit down and have refreshments.
“There is also a plan to have a pavilion that will allow everyone to stand or sit and watch the game in front of them.
“The club still need to finalise a couple of items but it is hoped that within six months the club will be enjoying the benefits of these new state-of-the-art facilities.”
While Whomack admits changing at Appleton Academy is a vast improvement on the old air-raid shelter, he is eager to have a place they can call their own, while explaining the logistical problem that currently exists having to traipse across two main roads to the pitch.
“Seven, eight and nine-year-olds tend to listen to their coaches but when they get to 13 and 14 they don’t do so as much, so having to cross Woodside Road and Huddersfield Road on the way to the ground is not ideal.”