With the return of the TT this week, Douglas Rugby Club is welcoming back visitors after converting their sports facilities to a campsite.

Believed to host the biggest temporary campsite on the island, the sports club based on Peel Road has financially suffered over the past three years without the usual annual revenue of TT camping.

One change to this year’s campsite is a shake up in staff, with former director of Douglas Rugby Club Carl Murray departing the club in January, and Glyn Hooson Owen and Anne Howarth stepping in as manager and assistant site managers.

The rugby club’s location on the course and range of facilities bode well in competing for tourists against other sites, with a range of food served throughout each day of the fortnight, a fully licensed bar that remains open from early till late with a host of TVs broadcasting the TT action, and free Wi-Fi and phone charging available.

Director of rugby and campsite site manager Glyn Hooson Owen believes the money the TT period makes for the club is crucial in ensuring the sports sides can compete off the island, and emphasised the hard work that goes into the project.

He said: ‘The revenue is massive for us, we travel off island a lot as a club and it covers that, as well as other expenditures because we are a limited company.

‘A lot of work goes in to changing this from a rugby club to a campsite, everything has got to be emptied, all the gym machines taken away, changing rooms cleaned with shower curtains need putting up, and this year we have new containers with extra showers and toilets.’

Anne Howarth, bar manager and assistant site manager, insists that prices for tourists to stay at Douglas Rugby Club are the same this TT than previously, but thinks the government could have supported them more.

She said: ‘Prices have remained the same because we’ve had a lot of transfers from the previous two years, so probably 80% of campers this year are transfers from previous years.

‘Because of the rollover we aren’t going to make as much, but we do out source our catering to tender, and we also have the bar, which is 100% ours. We make it so everything is on site for the visitors.

‘The Rugby Football Union have helped us a little bit, but because we’re only a temporary campsite we couldn’t claim anything during Covid, even though we’re probably the biggest campsite on the island.’

Mr Hooson Owen added: ‘We’ve worked out that we’re close to 10% of bed nights within the Douglas area, and we didn’t get any financial support, and we’re still fighting that now.’

Although there are club members who volunteer, the majority of staff are paid, with the campsite employing around 23 people during the TT fortnight who work various shifts, with around 15 people on the camping side and seven bartenders.