Firstly identify the next stage of your clubs development, so you are clear in your own mind what your club requirements are for the future.

Remember to include all section of your club; your club is not two independent sections if you have a youth section, you are classified as one club with the main club directors/committee/all membership being responsible for the action of the whole club.


  1. Do not chase a dream
  2. Can your club afford your idea
  3. Are you aware what your clubs director’s or membership liabilities and guarantees are

If you look at the balance sheet for your club you will find that on an average weekend the youth section will be the primary source of income.

If your clubs requirement is for Improving, Re-development or Replacing your existing facilities, your club will need both Club Accreditation and have a Club Development Plan in place before certain funding can be granted by the Rugby Football Foundation.

Your club will also need security of tenure on your facilities (Freehold – Lease) to apply for certain funding.

There are a number of templates available for Clubs on the RFU website like

  1. Risk assessment
  2. Cash flow

The Rugby Football Foundation

The Rugby Football Foundation (RFF) invests in community rugby clubs, financing capital projects which improve facilities and support either the retention or growth of players. The funds can be used for projects like pitch improvement (land purchase, pitch construction, drainage and levelling), clubhouses (all apart from bars), floodlights and equipment.


If your club is a voting member of the RFU playing at level 5 or below you can apply for a:

Helping Hand Grant

The 'Helping Hand Grant' provides a mechanism for clubs to apply for a small grant of between £500 and £1,500 for eligible capital projects (for example a new set of rugby posts, redecorating the changing rooms etc) with the club matching the grant on a £ for £ basis.

The grant is available to clubs that play at level 5 or below in the RFU league structure.

How to Apply

Download the Helping Hand Application Form. Complete all sections and ensure that you have all the supporting documents available. Either print a copy of the completed form, sign it and send it together with the necessary supporting documents.

The RFF aspires to turnaround Helping Hand Grants in six weeks from receipt of a completed application.

Please note that the Rugby Football Foundation operates a series of minimum standards and best practice guides in the planning, development and construction of club facilities. Clubs should consult the Technical Advice section and download the relevant guide to their project before submitting an application.

Groundmatch Grant

The Groundmatch Scheme provides easy-to-access grant funding for capital projects which contribute to the recruitment and retention of community rugby players. A list of projects which qualify for a grant (‘Qualifying Projects’) is given in the Guidance Notes but the list is not exhaustive. Clubs at level 5 and below can apply for between £1,500 and £5,000 on a matched £ for £ basis.

Completed applications are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year. In order for an application to be considered the application form must be fully completed and submitted with all the required paperwork to the RFF Administrator. Clubs may only apply for one grant per project and are eligible for only £5,000 in a 24 month period. The 24 months are calculated from the date of the last payment of any previous award.

The RFF aspires to turnaround Groundmatch Grants in eight weeks from receipt of a complete application.

How to Apply

Download a Groundmatch Grant Application Form

Before completing the application form:

Refer to the checklist to ensure you are eligible and ready to apply for a grant. You should be confident that your application will focus on the aims of the Foundation and that you understand the desire of the Foundation to promote good quality club development.

Contact your local RFU Rugby Development Officer and Constituent Body Facility Coordinator to discuss the project, as they will need to sign off the application.

Ensure that you have completed all sections, obtained the required signatures and included all documents as shown in the checklist at the rear of the form. Failure to follow this instruction will result in the application being unsuccessful.

For more detailed technical advice on completing the application form contact your RFU Regional Funding and Facilities Manager.

Interest-free loan

RFU voting member clubs playing at Level 4 and below can apply for an interest-free loan of between £5,000 and £100,000, repayable over a period of up to 15 years, to make improvements to facilities supporting the retention and recruitment of players.

How to apply

The RFF operates a two stage application process:


The RFF will not consider any loan applications for projects that have not been identified as a priority within local Constituent Body Facility Plans.

Stage 1

The club completes the Stage 1 Application Form. At this stage the club should ensure that the form is fully completed along with a number of key pieces of information. The complete application needs to be logged with the RFF. The RFF will then write to the club informing them whether they can proceed to a Stage 2 application or advise them that the application does not meet the RFF’s Stage 1 application criteria.

Stage 2

The club will be required to provide further supporting evidence. Within six weeks, the club will be informed in writing by the RFF Administrator of the Trustees decision.

Who – Contact your local RFU Area Facilities Manager (AFM) and CB Facility Coordinator

Jon Bendle AFM

(Cornwall, Somerset, Devon, Dorset & Wilts and Gloucestershire) – 07753 881 272

Gerald Burden Dorset & Wilts RFU Facility Coordinator – 07415 995 087

Changing Rooms Development

This guide provides a checklist of standards for the design and construction of RFU compliant changing rooms and clubhouses for a new facility, extension to your existing clubhouse or refurbishment of your existing facilities. It is intended as a guide and should assist both your project steering group and appointed consultants when undertaking the feasibility study, scheme development and any applications to the RFU Capital Investment Programme or Rugby Football Foundation.

Green Deal Loan

RFF Green Deal loans up to the value of £20,000 are available to clubs at level 3 and below to support them in the installation of facility solutions that reduce utility costs. Green Deal Loan repayments are structured to be the equivalent of the projected savings over the agreed ‘payback’ period. Applications must be underpinned by independent, accredited energy surveys and clubs must evidence the no cost/low cost improvements that they have already implemented and the impact of those improvements.

How to Apply

The RFF Green Deal Loan operates a two stage application process:


The RFF will not consider any loan applications for projects that have not been identified as a priority within local Constituent Body Facility Plans.

Stage 1

The club obtains an independent energy survey and completes any recommended no cost/low cost improvements. The club should then complete the RFF Green Deal Loan application template and submit it along with evidence of the no cost/low cost and a copy of the energy survey. At this stage the club should ensure that the form is fully completed along with all key pieces of information. The complete application needs to be logged with the RFF. The RFF will then write to the club informing them whether they can proceed to a Stage 2 application or advise them that the application does not meet the RFF Green Deal Stage 1 application criteria. A general philosophy of ‘energy efficiency before energy generation’ is adopted in the assessment of RFF Green Deal Loan Stage 1 applications

Stage 2

The club will be required to provide further supporting evidence including specialist quotes that demonstrate a detailed energy and cost saving projection.

Solar Energy for Non-Profit Organisations

There are various types of non-profit organisations, from charities to sports clubs, and each non-profit organisation can benefit from using solar power. Before purchasing solar panels, it is advisable that the organisation assess the most suitable type of solar panelling and the amount of electricity per kilowatt needed. Photovoltaic solar panels are the most suitable and more popular panels that are installed for non-profit organisations. To finance the purchase and installation of a solar power system, a non-profit organisation could borrow loans or they could use a third party. The third party would purchase the solar panels and arrange installation of the panels on the non-profit organisation's property, and then sell the energy to that organisation.

Use the free electricity to heat your showers on training or match days and sell the surplus to the National Grid.


The Grantfinder online tool is a free-to-use grant facility that allows you to search through the thousands of grants and loans that could help your club.

Club Benefits Guide

This guide is designed to help you grow your club, with ideas and support available to help you deliver the very best rugby experience.

Landfill Communities Fund

The Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) is an innovative tax credit scheme enabling operators of landfill sites to contribute money to organisations enrolled with ENTRUST as Environmental Bodies (EBs). EBs carry out   projects that comply with the objectives (Objects) set out in The Landfill Tax Regulations 1996 (Regulations).

Section 106 Grant Funding

Under S106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended, contributions can be sought from developers towards the costs of providing community and social infrastructure, the need for which has arisen as a result of a new development taking place.

If you know of a planned development your area, talk with the developer to see if the Local Authority is going to ask for a provision for Section 106 within the development. You may be able to get the developer to include your scheme within their agreement with the Local Authority.  

Other forms of funding

Private funding 

All forms of private funding will be looking for a return on their investment


Donations could be from a member or company and take many forms.

Buy a brick type scheme

The type of scheme can be developed to purchase a wide range of products and services.

Local Councils

Small grants maybe available from the local or parish councils


This can take many forms like sponsoring

  1. The Match Ball
  2. The Match Programme
  3. Pitch side Board
  4. The Match
  5. A Player
  6. The Team
  7. A Changing Room or part of the building
  8. The Club
  9. Basically anything you can think of
  10. Remember to hold a hold a thank you lunch for all your club sponsors, no matter how small the sum was, because a free £5.00 meal will turn into £30.00 or £40.00 in revenue over the bar at that lunch. This type of event is a great place to network with others and will encourage them to return and support your club next year.  

Remember to tailor your sponsorship package to suit the maximum benefits of both the club and the possible sponsor.

Never try and increase the sum you are looking for with any potential new sponsors, remember you can always lower your expectations. A small sponsor this year could be a major sponsor in five years’ time.          

Main Shirt Sponsors draw

See up a draw were businesses in the local area each pay £100.00 to become the clubs shirt sponsor for that season. If 100 companies paid £100.00 to entry you would raise £10,000.00 per year.

What would the businesses get in return

Install a board within the club showing all the 100 companies logos

Coverage in the local press

Make the afternoon or evening of the draw an event in its own right with food, being family friendly with music/live entertainment, this again will give you and income over the bar.

The winning company will get its name on the club shirts for that season

All companies which entry to receive two free family tickets to draw event


Task your membership to raise a set sum per year. If you have youth teams from under 6 to 16 and 2 senior teams that 13 teams in all and each were tasked to raise £250.00 that would be £3,250.00 per season.

Purchasing Cooperative

Is a type of cooperative arrangement, often among businesses and the club membership, to set up an agreement to get lower prices from selected suppliers (like heating oil). It is often used by government agencies to reduce costs of procurement.


Check to see if you are getting the best deal available on things like electric – gas – phone – insurance, I suspect that most clubs just pays up year on year.