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The Support Rosslyn Park and Secure our Future Campaign received a significant boost today, Wednesday 13 June 2018, following the publication in the Daily Telegraph of an opinion piece wholly in support of our campaign. In his article “Future of Rosslyn Park, launch pad for countless stars, at risk due to British Nimbyism”, Daniel Schofield highlighted all the positive aspects that our club, Rosslyn Park, brings to sporting fraternity which is under threat.
You can read the full article online here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2018/06/12/future-rosslyn-park-launch-pad-countless-stars-risk-due-british/
Rosslyn Park is one of the world’s leading community sports clubs and has been at the forefront of developing rugby for over 100 years. The club’s future development has come under threat as a result of a campaign started by a local resident against our advertising boards.
Having been in Roehampton since 1957, players and supporters will know better than anyone that our facilities had hardly been touched since that time and were badly in need of investment – with just one pitch, our boiler and hot water system failing, our changing rooms in dire need of refurbishment and in early 2014 one of our floodlight pylons came down in a storm onto the South Circular.
Park has always been a not-for-profit community-based rugby club. Each week we get over 1000 local kids (both boys and girls) playing rugby and 100+ adults. As with any community organisation that receives no funding from government or other central bodies, our finances have always been fragile and we have only kept going by the generous support and donations of our members and sponsors – but that left us vulnerable and with no stability.
With just one grass pitch we were restricted to how much we could use it and realised that if we wanted to continue and to get more children playing sport locally then we needed to invest in the facility and put in a modern artificial 4G pitch that would allow constant use in all weathers. We also needed to replace the hot water system, install new floodlights and upgrade the changing facilities. That is just the priority list!
This all cost around £1m – money that the club simply didn’t have. So, we investigated how we might be able to raise the funds and pursued the idea of advertising screens along our border on the South Circular arterial route. After many months discussing our plans with local residents, the council, TfL and conducting surveys to understand the environmental impact we applied for planning permission for the pitch, facility improvements and the advertising screens that would provide the funding for the much-needed updated facilities.
We were delighted when, at full Planning Committee, approval was given thus enabling us to raise debt to fund the development, backed by the advertising income. The pitch was installed in 2015 with the screens going up later that year. Other club improvements and landscaping is ongoing.
Community use of the facility has gone through the roof and we are working with a large number of local schools to get kids playing on the pitch – the feedback is really positive. The kids just love playing in a small stadium, with stands and floodlights and it really inspires them. It’s not used just for rugby, also football and other sports as well. And it’s not just schools, we also work with local charities such as Regenerate and the Feel Good Bakery.
The stability it has given the club has meant that as well as increasing community use, we’ve been able to make our flagship National School 7s even bigger and better (this year we welcomed over 9000 kids from 850 schools around the world to SW15 to take part in the world’s pre-eminent school rugby tournament).
However, today all this is under threat from a lady who has started a protest group about the screens as she is opposed to all such digital advertising screens. She is conducting an on-line campaign for the removal of the screens and is writing directly to advertisers giving them a very partisan view which is inaccurate and grossly misleading. The screens are completely legal and we went beyond the due process in consultation with our community and planners.
Unfortunately, her campaign is influencing some of the advertisers – some have withdrawn their adverts from the site. The loss of revenue from the screens would be catastrophic: it would undo all that has been achieved, not just in terms of Rosslyn Park as a club, but the thousands of local kids and families who have benefited and would have benefited in the future. The work we do with local schools and nationally will be lost forever.
We are therefore asking supporters and, indeed, our local community to show support for Rosslyn Park by,
a) Signing an online petition asking TakeDownTheAds to stop their campaign against Rosslyn Park.
b) Write directly to TakeDownTheAds highlighting how they have benefited from Rosslyn Park
c) Thank those firms that are supporting Rosslyn Park by advertising on the screens and show our appreciation of their support and what it means for the club and community.
When using social media please use the hashtag #SupportRosslynPark.
Especially if you live locally, please talk to your friends and neighbours about this threat to the club and the local community and enlist their support. We know that some people don’t like the screens but when we explain that they went through a thorough consultation and the importance of them in funding our activities, we find that they accept and support the club and the screens.
As a thank you for our community’s support, for the first home game of our next season in September there will be free admission to the game and activities encouraging local families to get involved playing rugby and highlighting the heritage of the club.
We are asking our local community to show their support to Rosslyn Park by:
Our petition can be signed here: https://www.change.org/p/amanda-benzecry-carpa-support-rosslyn-park-rugby-club-and-secure-our-future Please sign! Contact details for CARPA/TakeDownTheAds:
Firms Advertising on the Screens
By supporting this petition you will give a clear message to the Campaign Against Rosslyn Park Advertising of the passion and strength of feeling that our members, our local community and those that have benefited from Rosslyn Park have and we hope they will desist from their campaign against the screens and the resulting closure of the club.