ESSENTIAL upgrades are set to be made to a sporting facility used by some 450 people.

Basingstoke Rugby Football Club has received a financial boost from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s local infrastructure fund to improve its facilities at Down Grange, in Pack Lane, Kempshott.

The club was granted £147,900, which will go towards breathing new life into the club’s changing facilities.

The club’s outdated changing and showering facilities for its 350 youth players - from under sixes to Colts - and over 100 adults have reached capacity.

None of the current changing rooms comply with current RFU standards while the communal shower room is inappropriate for the increasing mixed gender demand at the club, brought about by an increase in interest in girls/ladies rugby.

The funding will go towards a new-build extension housing three changing rooms with integral showers and toilets, and the refurbishment of the five existing changing rooms and communal shower.

The new changing rooms will be suitable for all of the club’s 19 teams.

Chairperson of Basingstoke Rugby Football Club, Michele Amos, said: “We need to provide the best possible environment for anyone who plays, watches, delivers or experiences rugby at the club.

“This project will allow us to continue to grow and expand our rugby offer to more sections of the wider community, including local schools and community groups.

“These improvements will provide a safer, more comfortable facility that is equivalent in all aspects for all genders, abilities and ages.”

Cabinet member for communities, culture and partnerships Councillor Simon Bound: “This funding will really help the club to meet the needs of its users, especially its female and its young players.”