‘Water’ relief for Durham rowers as Clubhouse project reaches completion

August 4, 2010 | Browney Lane News

Members of one of the north of England’s leading rowing clubs are celebrating after completing the final part of its long-term clubhouse redevelopment scheme.

Durham Amateur Rowing Club has increased its storage capacity by more than half with the opening of a new extension to the boat store at its headquarters on the River Wear in the city.

The 18.5m x 12m facility will mean all the Club’s boats and equipment can be stored in one place, instead of some of it being outside or off site, and will make the clubhouse’s day-to-day operations far simpler and more efficient.

The cost of the £63,000 project has been raised from a variety of sources, including a range of fundraising activities undertaken by the club’s members, a grant from Sport England and a £10,000 grant from local firm Banks Developments, via its Banks Community Fund.

Banks gave a similar sum to the Club in 2008 to pay for a new state-of-the-art racing four, which is used by crews at high-profile regattas around the UK.

Founded in 1860, Durham Amateur Rowing Club draws its 230 members from across the north east, but predominantly from the Easington, Sedgefield and Durham areas.

It runs male and female crews in all age groups, from juniors and beginners to seniors and veterans, and two of its recent alumni – Jessica Eddie and Ian Lawson – have represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

The Club also works closely with local schools to provide opportunities for young people to try rowing, offers coaching to those that are identified as having potential, and participates in an Explore Rowing scheme which aims to encourage people aged between 40 and 60 to use the sport as a way of improving and maintaining their fitness levels.

It ran a ten-year, £1m fundraising programme to cover the cost of a new clubhouse, which was opened in September 2007, of which the new boat storage unit was originally part.

Secretary Barry Hudson says: “When we got tenders for the construction of our new clubhouse, we found that costs were quite a bit higher than we’d anticipated, so we put the boat storage part of our plans temporarily on hold to enable us to build the rest of the project.

“We’ve continued to raise funds for the storage facility since then, and are obviously extremely pleased to now have it in place.

“A lack of storage space meant that we’d had to keep various items outside the clubhouse, in its roof space or off site altogether, which was obviously far from ideal, but having this new facility means we can bring everything back into one place and will make everything much more efficient and easy to manage.

“Banks has been a long-term supporter of the club, and we’re very grateful for their significant contribution to the completion of the final part of our clubhouse project.”

Katie Perkin at the Banks Group adds: “Durham Amateur Rowing Club provides a wonderful example of how a sports club can both help talented athletes compete at a national level and also contribute to the health and well-being of the community in which it is based.

“A huge amount of planning and fundraising has gone into developing an outstanding facility, and as a local firm, it’s an honour for us to be involved in helping the club finish the job.”

The Banks Community Fund is administered by the County Durham Community Foundation.  Projects, community groups, or organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact Clare Johnson on 0191 383 0055.

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