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Upgrade . . . Edendale Rugby Club premier captain Bram Fodie (left) and his father, club president John Fodie, sit on the foundation for the new deck area being built at the north end of their clubrooms. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

All hands are on deck for refurbishments of the outdoor area at the Edendale Rugby Club rooms that will benefit the wider community.

Club members began the foundation work of the wooden deck at the north end of the clubrooms last month.

An archgola (permanent cover) will be added to shelter the area by the end of the year and doors leading out to the area have already been completed.

The club received $10,000 from The Trusts Community Foundation, on behalf of the Mataura Licensing Trust, for the project.

President John Fodie expressed the club’s gratitude for its contribution.

“What they have done for us is fantastic to kick it off. We are so grateful for it.”

Two further grants, of $2850 from the Lotteries Commission and $2500 from the Southland District Council, helped bolster the project.

An archgola cost between $14,000 and $17,000 and the club would fundraise the rest.

At the MLT board meeting, board member Jeannine Cunningham said the club’s use had increased since the loss of the town’s community hall.

Mr Fodie said the club held more than 100 people and was used for birthday parties and engagement parties, and a wedding would be held in the future.

“It’s just the way it’s progressed in the past year or so.

“The school use it and it’s utilised by the kiddies,” he said.

It is the first major upgrade to the club since its kitchen area was updated two years ago.

The idea had been put to the committee by his son, premier captain Bram Fodie and the rugby team.

“The boys put the idea to the committee a couple of years ago.

“This year it was one of the jobs. We got a little bit of funding so we decided to crack on with it.”

The club was ”incredibly lucky” to have builders among the committee members and playing group who put their hands up to build the deck.

When it was finished, balustrades would be added around it to make the extension safe.

The club had flourished in the past few seasons with its premier team, the Magpies, and two junior rippa rugby sides to bolster it.

“Our rugby was up 20% on last year.”

Bram said his team could see the bigger picture of adding to their clubrooms.

“The idea’s been bounced around, but the time is right.

“If we want to get new players, it’s a real draw for us having clubrooms that have a deck as well.

“We’re really looking forward to it.”

The whole project would be finished by the end of the year.