Support for Celtic women

Ashburton Celtic women's senior rugby squad with coaches Breffni O'Reilly and Spud Kerr in front of the changing shed getting an upgrade.

Showers and bathroom facilities are going into the female changing rooms at Ashburton Celtic Rugby Club thanks to support from a new grassroots rugby assist programme backed by Bunnings Warehouse.

Celtic will use $30,000 worth of Bunnings materials to upgrade the current basic facilities.

For the latter part of last season the senior women’s team used a building formerly owned by Ashburton Boxing Club and now gifted to Celtic for its changing shed.

The building has no shower or toilet facilities, but provided a dedicated space for the fast growing women’s team and visiting opposition.

Previously the women’s team used the main men’s changing rooms when available.

Celtic Rugby Club president Darion Gray said the club was thrilled to receive the grassroots funding and grateful for the support given to women’s rugby.

The Celtic women remained the only female team in Mid Canterbury and wider squad numbers were extremely healthy at around 40.

The team played in the Christchurch Metro competition, Mrs Gray said.

“This is the club’s centennial and its turning out to be a great year. We won the Watters Cup and now we have support to upgrade our facilities.”

Mrs Gray said the club would call on its volunteer army to to help install the new showers and toilets.

The project would be completed for the 2022 season and would include a spruce up of the shed exterior as well.

It would benefit the entire club and would allow other teams to use the changing rooms if needed and when available.

Bunnings launched its Rugby Assist programme this year as part of a partnership with New Zealand Rugby.

The annual $300,000 fund has community at its heart and a third of all rugby clubs in the country submitted to it.

Celtic and four other clubs received $30,000 each and another 15 clubs got $10,000 each.

Bunnings New Zealand director Ben Camire said the passion and dedication shown by club volunteers and communities who applied for Bunnings Rugby Assist was really encouraging.

“They share our goal of helping to build grassroots rugby, which is at the heart of every community in this country.”

-By Mick Jensen