A new 35-year lease has been granted to Malvern Rugby Football Club (MRFC) to ensure its future growth and development.

The new lease, which was approved on 23 April 2024 by Malvern Hills District Council’s Executive Committee, will allow the club to access funding to develop the existing changing rooms into a more inclusive and fit-for-purpose environment.

Moving forward, the club will aim to provide more playing opportunities for people across all forms of rugby, including a particular focus on girls’ and women’s rugby, as well as mixed rugby.

The club currently lease Spring Lane Playing Fields from the council under a 30-year lease, which began in December 2000.

The shortness of the remaining term, under seven years, makes it impossible for the club to access funding to improve their facilities, including access to RFU (Rugby Football Union) funding to update the existing changing rooms.

A long-term lease will allow the club to access additional funding streams to assist with their aspirations to deliver pitch and clubhouse improvements.

The club provided a ten-year Rugby and Community Development Plan to support their request for a new 35-year lease, and any future funding applications.

Andrew Longley, Chairman of MRFC, said: “I am delighted on behalf of the executive of the club and all our members and supporters that we have finalised the lease. I am grateful to Councillor John Gallagher, the councillors at Malvern Hills District Council, Head of Property and Customer Services, Sandra Hudson and her team for their support and Stuart Eades and his colleagues from the Rugby Football Union who collectively have helped us achieve this.

“I would say thanks to those on our executive team who over many years have worked on achieving such a long lease on the home of Malvern RFC. This gives us long-term security and the opportunity to improve facilities for all our members. It will mean we can further advance our plans around all rugby. In particularly developing girls’ and ladies’ rugby, in a safe and caring manner. We now look to move forward to develop exciting plans to modernise our facilities. I would ask all local businesses to consider the opportunity of becoming a Malvern RFC sponsor, this will allow us to work together to improve our facilities. Please contact me directly if you would like to discuss further”.

Cllr John Gallagher, Portfolio Holder for Resources at Malvern Hills District Council, said: “Approving this new lease gives the club a great opportunity to grow and develop. It also contributes towards our priorities to promote health, fitness, and well-being, and to enable investment in playing pitches and community facilities.

“I am delighted that it will lead to an expansion of communities participating in rugby, and particularly that it supports and encourages the involvement of women and young girls competing in competitive rugby matches”.

Visit https://malvernrfc.rfu.club/ for more information about Malvern Rugby Football Club.