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Cliffe Crusaders rugby club has outlined its ambitious plans for the future

By Nicola Jordan

Cliffe Crusaders only launched two-years-ago but the village-based rugby team has got off to a flying start thumping top scoring sides across the south east.

But to fulfil their dreams of moving up the rugby league table, the club is required to have changing rooms and showers for visiting rivals.

With an estimated quote of £125,000 for the build, architect's and legal fees and a mountain of paperwork to get planning permission, it was always going to be an uphill struggle.

Cliffe Crusaders Rugby Club
Cliffe Crusaders Rugby Club

But amazingly the community has rallied around and they have raised the money with work starting at Cliffe Recreation Ground last month.

Up until now the players have shared facilities with the Cliffe Colts football teams in the community hall.

Cliffe and Cliffe Woods Parish Council donated £52,000 and other significant contributions came from Veolia and Leader Funding, a European Union initiative which supports rural development projects.

Parish councillor Vivienne Walton said: "We had to prove that we could raise money ourselves before applying for grants.

"We did this by trimming our budgets on certain projects. At the end of the day its going back into the community and will benefit people living here."

They have hired local contractors Clark-Clayton and Sons at a discount and Medway-based architect John Alford offered his services ans skills.

The team and staff have also been given a sum from Naz's Rasoi Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant in Strood.

Work has started on Crusaders new changing rooms
Work has started on Crusaders new changing rooms

Vivienne said: "We thought it was going to be difficult but we weren't going to give up."

Club chairman Lisa Wells said: "The football teams have been trying to get changing rooms for years and with the rugby club now using the same facility, it was finally agreed."

Lisa's son George set up the Crusaders with a group of friends from his gym and former players from his days at clubs in Gravesend and Maidstone.They have now have a 60-strong squad and are going from strength to strength.

Lisa said: "We managed to get by for the first season. The visiting clubs were very understanding.

"Our aim for next season is to go into Kent 2, which would have been impossible without changing rooms."

The building will include two changing rooms, toilets and showers.

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