RHYL Rugby Club has had the green light on a £1.5million project to transform the leisure and employment opportunities available for the whole community.

Work has begun on the project which is set to make a huge difference to the health, economic, social and educational prospects of children and adults in one of the most deprived areas of Wales.

The project, driven by former England rugby coach and now Rhyl chairman Richard Greenwood OBE, will see the club move its on and off-field facilities to the more central Tynewydd Road location with easy access to local schools and residential areas.

The new development will house the 19 community groups who currently use the clubhouse, but also, a range of other organisations who will run wide-ranging workshops to include Basic Skills coaching sessions for parents, Family Learning homework clubs, a Next Steps drop-in project to develop work-ready skills such as CV writing, interview techniques and other drop-in sessions to break down employment barriers such as health, housing, debt, benefits and food poverty.

The funding includes £490,000 in Welsh Government Community Facilities funding, £90,000 of other outside means including a £25,000 WRU facilities grant and the sale of current club assets.

The move from outside the town into Rhyl centre will enable far more children to access the club’s already extensive playing opportunities and the link with Rhyl High School through a WRU school club hub officer is a critical element of the project.

Mr Greenwood, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Welsh Government has seen the potential that this project can bring for the wider community of Rhyl, and that the rugby club, building on its proud achievements as one of the most vibrant and far-reaching community hubs I’ve ever experienced, can continue to make a difference by working effectively with local organisations in the future.

“The development of the project owes much to the support of the Welsh Rugby Union, who also provided additional funding; Sport Wales and WREN are also significant funders of the scheme.

“At a time of close public scrutiny of Government funding it is important to recognise that the rugby club is itself the major funder of the project in that it is investing the proceeds of the sale of its two major assets to develop a community and sporting hub of which the whole of Rhyl can be proud.”