Rugby club launches bid to buy church and land

Woodbridge Rugby Club are looking to purchase the Baptist Church next to their current base. L-R Steve Wilding, Joy...

Woodbridge Rugby Club are looking to purchase the Baptist Church next to their current base. L-R Steve Wilding, Joy Elias, Claire Cole, Simon Chittcok and Tim Johnson. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Woodbridge Rugby Club has launched a huge fundraiser in the hopes of buying a church and land to provide for their junior and wheelchair teams.

Young players at Woodbridge Rugby Club. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Young players at Woodbridge Rugby Club. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The Orford Road ground currently has three rugby pitches and fields more than five teams, including one women’s and two men’s senior sides, U18, U16 and a veterans team.

The Wheeled Warriors, a wheelchair squad, was formed in 2013 after the club was inspired by the paralympics, but they have had to train at another location due to a lack of indoor space.

Buying the Faith Baptist Church and the surrounding land will not only provide the Wheeled Warriors with a dedicated training space, it will also allow for more pitches to be built to cater for the crowd of young people wanting to play rugby – currently numbered at over 400.

It will also provide more room for festivals, fundraisers and give all players access to indoor training and learning facilities.

Joy Elias and Simon Chittock, members of the wheelchair squad at Woodbridge Rugby Club. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Joy Elias and Simon Chittock, members of the wheelchair squad at Woodbridge Rugby Club. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant


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Tim Johnson, chairman of the club, said: “We are running out of space for our juniors to play on Sundays and the land would allow us to build two more pitches and four mini pitches.

“Having the church building as a base for the wheelchair team would be fantastic too as it makes them really feel part of the club.

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“It’s not great at the moment because they have to book different training facilities and it would be nice to have everyone together on one site.

“We just want to keep everyone together and playing rugby.”

Tim Johnson, Chairman of the Woodbridge Rugby Club Committee. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tim Johnson, Chairman of the Woodbridge Rugby Club Committee. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The club is desperate to begin the first phase of buying the land this autumn, as they need to start work preparing the pitches for use in 2021.

The second phase will be buying the church and then eventually spending up to £60,000 upgrading the facility.

A total of £14,014 has currently been raised with an initial target of £20,000 on the Just Giving page.

The whole project could cost up to £200,000 and Mr Johnson has been in discussions with Suffolk County Council and Sport England about possible grants.

The club has successfully fundraised for several previous expansions, including the third pitch, changing facilities, a bigger clubhouse, refs room and disabled toilets.

To find out more or donate, visit the ‘Buy The Church’ appeal on the Woodbridge Rugby Club website or Just Giving page.

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