MEMBERS of Dursley Rugby Club have been celebrating after raising tens of thousands of pounds which will help the club 'keep its lights on'. 

The club launched a fundraising campaign on October 1, needing to raise a match-funded £20,000 to help fund solar panels and battery storage at the club – and they’ve succeeded.

Dursley Rugby Club, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year,  says it had seen costs rising to almost £10,000 a year for energy bills alone.

As a consequence, the club, which is volunteer-led and relies on money from grants, members and fundraising, wanted to install solar panels on its changing room roof this winter and install battery storage to have more control over energy costs. 

The total cost of the panels, batteries and installation is £40,000.

Having successfully applied to Aviva Community Fund, it was able to run its first Crowdfunder, which saw supporters donate money in return for rewards - 166 people and businesses donated to reach the match-funded total of £24,000.

Gazette Series: Dursley Under 16s cheering after being told they had hit the £20k target after their match on SundayDursley Under 16s cheering after being told they had hit the £20k target after their match on Sunday (Image: Dursley Rugby Club)Club chair Phil Sprague said: “Solar panels have always been part of our long-term plan but every year we’ve needed to raise money for more urgent repairs or maintenance.

"A survey showed that the local community wanted us to look seriously at renewable energy.

"Our energy bills topped £10,000 for the first time and that’s just not sustainable – so we had to go for it.

"Thanks to everyone in Cam, Dursley and the surrounding area, we’ve reached our target.

"We are so grateful for all of their donations.”

The club has also received funding from Magnox, Gloucestershire County Council & The Luke Wheaton Legacy Trust to reach the £40,000 total cost of solar installation. 

Sport England also contributed £6,000. 

Tracey Angellm, volunteer grants manager at the club, said: "Being accepted for our first Crowdfunder was a proud moment but also daunting – we were worried we wouldn’t reach our target because we know everyone is struggling this year.

"We’ve had brilliant support from local companies, meaning we can give rewards – so every supporter will receive something nice as a thank you.”

The club has three senior teams, a women's section and has more than 400 boys and girls aged between 4 to 18 playing for their teams. 

Stinchcombe Stragglers Cricket Club plus Dursley Running and Athletics Club also use the site while the facilities and clubhouse are also used for groups, parties, meetings and community events.