A beleaguered rugby club has been awarded £100,000 of funding to secure its future as a community hub.
Boroughmuir Rugby and Sports Community Club (BRCSC) will use the boost from the Scottish Investment Fund to fully refurbish the ground floor of the clubhouse and build a cafe open to players and the public.
The funding will also support the creation of a new post at the club for a community development manager, Lizzie Brough, who will be responsible for widening the community use of the facilities beyond purely rugby and arranging training opportunities for young people.
One of the Capital’s best-known rugby clubs, Boroughmuir faced financial difficulties in 2011.
And in March, the club suffered another blow after a gang of thugs raided its clubhouse and caused damage worth tens of thousands of pounds.
The Meggetland-based club, formerly known as Boroughmuir Rugby Football Club and founded in 1919, underwent a major review by community sports and leisure consultancy, PMR Leisure, and consequently re-established itself as the social enterprise BRCSC in 2012.
Bosses now aim to establish Boroughmuir as a sustainable community sports club driving rugby success and sporting participation across all ages and genders.
BRCSC is the first rugby club in Scotland to embark on such radical change putting a charity at the heart of the club’s legal structure which will drive forward the strategy for the future of the whole club. It is hoped that other clubs will follow.
Board chairman Bill Watson said: “It’s a radical change, moving from a single traditional rugby club to opening its doors as a multisport and social hub for the community.
“It’s creating great experiences for sports people so they can continue to get enjoyment for the rest of their lives.
“A lot of the sports which already exist at Meggetland do not have clubhouse facilities, this will change that.”
Refurbishment work is due to commence in January 2014 with a view to opening at the beginning of March.
Social Investment Scotland’s chief executive, Alastair Davis, said: “As we look forward to next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, it’s hoped that we begin to see more sports clubs looking to establish themselves as self-sustaining social enterprises with strong financial foundations and the ability to build a lasting legacy to the games.”
Boroughmuir Former Pupils RFC was formed in 1919, with the club admitted to the SRU in 1939.
Originally restricted to former pupils of Boroughmuir High, the club’s badge is derived from the school.
The side were the first to win the BT Cellnet Scottish Cup back to back and the first to win it three times.