Raeburn Place Foundation plans kick off ahead of Rugby World Cup

29 April 2015

Rugby fans across the world are eagerly anticipating the start of the 2015 World Cup but the buzz at Raeburn Place, birthplace of the international game and home of the Edinburgh Academical Football Club (EAFC), the oldest rugby club in Scotland, comes from the ambitious plans of the Raeburn Place Foundation (RPF) to redevelop the ground to provide a 21st century sporting facility and a museum of international rugby.

The redevelopment of the sporting facilities at Raeburn Place will include a full sized rugby pitch, mini/junior pitches, the reinstatement of cricket, an all-weather running track and new changing, training and gym facilities. There will also be a significant improvement in the amenities for supporters and spectators with covered seating for 2,500 and room for 2,500 temporary seats, plus purpose-built club rooms. These facilities will transform Raeburn Place into a sporting destination worthy of its heritage.

RPF is a new charity charged with ensuring the ambitious plans for Raeburn Place benefit the widest possible group of stakeholders. The Foundation’s Chairman, David Newlands, said:

“I am delighted to confirm that the three key elements of planning approval, charitable status and a long lease are now in place. It is fitting that our plans to revitalise historic Raeburn Place are kicking off as we approach the World Cup this autumn, given the ground’s central role in the birth of international rugby.

“Raeburn Place Foundation is a charity founded to safeguard the future of Raeburn Place, celebrate and showcase its past and ensure that people, irrespective of background and ability, have the opportunity to come together, play, watch, appreciate and celebrate sport. We have two charitable objectives - the advancement of public participation in sport and the advancement of heritage. Our vision is to improve lives through sport and our mission is to be a financially independent organisation that supports and provides sport, sports programmes and healthy recreation for all.

“Our fundraising for the capital cost of the build is now underway as we want to be on site, breaking ground, by mid-2016.”

EAFC, the Edinburgh BATs and ACE youth rugby development programmes, and the Edinburgh Clan, a unified rugby club, will continue to use Raeburn Place as their home ground, with the youth development initiatives being financially supported by RPF. The Edinburgh Academical Cricket Club will return to its original home once the new facilities are in place. It is hoped the new provision at Raeburn Place will enable the ground to once again host rugby age-grade and women’s internationals, as well as other major sporting events.

In fulfilling its purpose to promote heritage, RPF will open a museum dedicated to international rugby, celebrating the history and importance of the ground and the development of the international game.

Former Accie, Scotland International and British Lion, Mike Blair, said:

“Raeburn Place played a big part in my early rugby development – I first played there when I was just seven – and I am proud of my association with a ground and a club with so much rugby heritage. It is crucial to Scottish rugby that community development programmes like BATs are able to encourage, support and nurture young players and boost the sport from the grass roots up. It is great that the planning consent and the lease are now in place which will allow the new facilities to be available for the benefit of these young players of the future.”

Raeburn Place lies at the heart of Stockbridge and the new development incorporates multi-purpose community facilities as part of its commitment to the local area. The whole complex will be financially sustainable due to the inclusion of commercial units along the main street frontage. These businesses will draw footfall to the area and generate new jobs, helping to boost the local economy.