What is the 1883 Legacy Project?
In recent years Melrose Rugby have recognised that they need to modernise their ground and enable more matches to take place at the Greenyards. Coupled with this they felt that the club house and stand was not fit for purpose for a modern community club environment. Having undertaken a governance change to a Company Limited by Guarantee, the Club launched the 1883 Legacy Project.
Rio 2016 & it's Impact on Melrose Rugby
Early 2016, the Committee working alongside the SRU decided to undertake an open consultation process to see what change may look like! The aim for the Committee was to engage as much of the membership and wider community to identify the key elements which may come together to help them develop a new vision for the Greenyards. Using the opportunity of Rio 2016, where Rugby Sevens was to be placed on the Olympic platform for the first time, they set the target for the new vision to be launched. This was achieved and the project was launched to the Club and community, the week of the opening ceremony for Rio 2016.
The Road to Rio... and a New Era
To enable the Club to bring all the players – minis to seniors - back home to train and play matches within the Greenyards, they had already has agreed they wanted to develop a floodlight IRB 3G pitch on the Greenyards. Between April and the end of July, consultants PMR Leisure were tasked with engaging the Club and community to identify what the future Melrose should look like. At the start of the journey the Club gave the mandate to enable the new vision for the Greenyards to be responsive to the community and to embrace a new facility which would radically change the Greenyards for ever… the key for the membership was that the Greenyards was the place where Sevens was born and it wasn’t the buildings that made the Greenyards, it was ‘the sense of place and heart’ that made Melrose Rugby and what it has stood for over the world. This journey brought a range of potential community partners and organisations into a conversation about the future. Scottish Borders Council and the SRU fully endorsed the approach and were keen to hear what the community were wanting to see and how they wanted to use any new potential facilities.
Key Sources for the Consultation
The Earlston High School and its cluster primary schools who are looking for quality rugby and football pitches to develop their pupils.
The two primary schools in Melrose, keen to have additional indoor spaces for PE and outdoor sport
The local youth organisations wish to see dynamic spaces for young people to enjoy their free time and a place to centralise activity for the rural cluster, which has very few places for youngsters to use.
Community Council and traders recognise the Club is not fit for purpose and endorsed the approach to develop a new facility. This could attract not only more local use by organisations but present the heritage and history in modern environment - bringing sporting tourism to Melrose - The Home of Sevens.
The SFA and local football community all fully support the development of a 3G pitch and the combination of rugby and football being played on one site.
Wider community organisation such as: Health Board; arts; older people’s groups; Live Borders, all supported the idea and see the concept of developing a fit for purpose modern club house and stand providing a show case for the heritage of Melrose Rugby as the right way forward.