Date published: 16/04/2013
Twickenham Rowing Club have officially opened their extended and refurbished clubhouse and training facility with the help of Di Ellis CBE, the Chairman of British Rowing, Kate Hoey, the Mayor of London’s Commissioner for Sport and local MP, Dr Vince Cable.
The Club, which was founded in 1860, has occupied its current site on Eel Pie Island since 1876, when it was given the freehold of the land that it occupies by Philippe VII, Comte de Paris, one of a number of members of the French Royal family who had strong connections with Twickenham. The current clubhouse was built in 1880 to replace an even earlier floating structure, which sadly did not stay afloat for long. Various additions were made to the clubhouse, but about 20 years ago thoughts began to form about a much more ambitious development.
Serious fundraising began in 2010, the Club’s 150th Anniversary year, with an appeal to members for donations. This produced an excellent response such that the club was able to start making more detailed plans. Initially the expectation was that the proposed developments would take place in three phases over a period of several years. In fact the opening in April 2013 marked the completion of all three phases, including the construction of a new training facility, refurbishment of all changing rooms and showers, installation of a lift, a large expansion of the clubroom with a new bar, levelling of all floors and the resolution of some quite serious wood rot problems discovered during the work.
The Club’s ability to complete all these developments is due in no small part to the hard work and support of members who have given time and raised funds. But particularly critical to the club’s ability to undertake this project, was generous funding from the following bodies:
Twickenham Rowing Club received a grant of £167,769 from the Mayor of London: Facility Fund (MoL:FF) towards the £617,772 project. The MoL:FF is part of the Mayor, Boris Johnson’s, commitment to deliver a sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The aim of the Fund, which is managed on the Mayor’s behalf by the Football Foundation, is to increase participation levels in sport in London through the funding of affordable, good quality facilities within local communities in every London Borough.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Revamping local sports facilities is central to delivering a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Games and I’m delighted to help Twickenham Rowing Club play a part in that mission. I’m sure that now the club has enjoyed a fantastic sprucing up it will have no problem in attracting many more people on to the river and into the exciting sport of rowing.”
Kate Hoey, the Mayor of London’s Commissioner for Sport, said: “The refurbishment of Twickenham Rowing Club is an excellent example of the kind of project we have supported right across the Capital. To date these projects have resulted in approximately 50,000 new users per week in facilities spread across London. I am delighted that the Mayor’s Facilities Fund is making a tangible difference towards improving grassroots sports provision and I would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved in the project to date.”
The Rt Hon Dr Vincent Cable, MP for Twickenham, said: “Congratulations to Twickenham Rowing Club for their hard work and perseverance in ensuring that their clubhouse redevelopment project became a reality. It is a pleasure to be present at the official opening of the new facility, which will not only benefit club members but the Twickenham community as a whole.”
Keith Baldwin, President of Twickenham Rowing Club, said: “One of our goals is a major expansion of our membership so that we can enable more people of all ages and abilities to benefit from water based activity on our magnificent stretch of the River Thames. These bigger and better facilities have already enabled us to increase our membership by about 30% and we are running a series of Learn to Row courses through the spring and summer. Check out our website www.twickenhamrc.co.uk for details.”
Richard Lewis, Sport England’s Chairman, said: “The Inspired Facilities Fund has really hit the mark with sports clubs. It shows we’re offering the legacy that people want for their local community. For hundreds of clubs and thousands of people, this post-Olympic period will be the time their sports facilities got better.”
For more information please visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk/our-schemes/mayor-of-london-facility-fund/