Virus funding support for 145-year-old rugby league club

Professional rugby league club Dewsbury Rams has received support from Barclays through the Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Established in 1875, Dewsbury Rams RFC plays at the Tetley Stadium, Owl Lane, Dewsbury. The club competes in the Kingstone Press Championship. The news comes less than a week after the Government pledged funds to safeguard the future of rugby league.

The loan will secure the future of the club, providing flexible funding to meet fixed costs, so the grounds and facilities will still be there for players and fans once normality returns.

Mark Sawyer, chairman of Dewsbury Rams RFC, said: “We were devastated to learn about the lockdown and the impact it would have on our historical club.

“We knew that we would still need to pay for utilities, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and contractual costs and with no ticket income realised this would be a herculean challenge.

“Barclays stepped in to the breach and we’re hugely grateful that they have been able to provide a CBIL facility which will support the club over the coming months.”

He added the club cannot wait to get the players back into training and the gates open for the fans.

Molly Nicholson, Barclays relationship manager, put together the funding package for the deal.

She said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been so tough on businesses and sports clubs alike and it was brilliant that we were able to support the Rams – the love for sport is so vital during these difficult times.

“I know Mark, Andrew and the team are excited to get their gates back open to the public, so securing this funding will provide some breathing space over the next few months.”

Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood said: “I know how busy banks have been dealing with unprecedented high volumes of loan applications.

“So it’s great to see funding coming through for our local businesses and sports clubs such as Dewsbury Rams, to help them get through this extremely challenging period.”