Linlithgow Rugby Club is using solar power to help make it fully sustainable, while also generating power for the local community.
Linlithgow Rugby Club is a club which caters for boys and girls from primary one age group through to senior level. It is a strong community club, now with full charitable status, with key links and partnerships involving local schools, community organisations and sports clubs to promote fitness, wellbeing, and community spirit.
One of the rugby club’s key partnerships is with Linlithgow Community Development Trust (LCDT) which was formed by residents of Linlithgow and the surrounding area to deliver beneficial change to the local area. Out of this came Linlith-Go-Solar – a community energy enterprise project aiming to make solar work for the whole town.
In 2019 and again in early 2020, the Club entered into agreements with LCDT to install phases one and two of ‘Linlith-Go-Solar’, a solar energy community power scheme, using the south facing slope of the club’s indoor training centre at Mains Park, built in 2013 with the help of sportscotland funding. Now there are around 100 solar panels on the roof, generating power for both club and community.
When LCDT needed finance to install solar panels on the local sports clubs they turned to the people of Linlithgow. By becoming ‘Citizen Investors’ the local community could invest in the scheme by buying bonds. Working with Scottish Communities Finance Ltd, LCDT developed a bond portfolio giving the residents the knowledge that they could invest securely, confident that the panels would produce both a social and financial return.
Phase one of the project was based entirely at Linlithgow Rugby Club and when it was deemed a success, phase two begun and saw the capacity at the rugby club doubled. In addition to installations at two other sports clubs in the town - Linlithgow Golf Club and squash and bowling club, Linlithgow Sports Club.
As a community organisation, Linlithgow Rugby Club has looked for ways to provide some leadership in the use of renewable energy and other energy saving schemes to make the club more sustainable for the future. In 2013 a biomass (wood pellet) boiler was installed to provide hot water for showers and clubhouse heating and last year the club refurbished their showers and installed a range of water savings devices.
The club is sustained by a large number of trained volunteers who give up their time to train and develop young people. It also invests in two development officers who work in the local schools and in the club to promote best practice in health and fitness, in addition to running the Linlithgow Academy School of Rugby.
Over the last five years, Linlithgow Rugby Club has invested nearly £750,000 in renewing and developing facilities at Mains Park. The Club has been successful in securing around £500,000 of that in grant funding support, with the balance being raised by club members over the last 10 years.