£425,000 for better sports facilities

By David LennardSPORTS fans have been celebrating after their long-running campaign for better facilities was finally won, thanks to a £425,000 grant.

By David Lennard

SPORTS fans have been celebrating after their long-running campaign for better facilities was finally won, thanks to a £425,000 grant.

The money will allow the Kirkley and Pakefield Community Sports and Social Club to complete the second phase of their development to improve their sports ground.

With work due to start in the next few weeks, the club hopes to transform their Walmer Road ground into the "biggest and best" amateur footballing facility in the county.


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Nick Shorten, club chairman and Kirkley FC manager, said: "It has taken the time and dedication of a number of key individuals to get where we are today and to receive such a significant grant is testament to all their hard work.

"We are now involved in a pioneering project and are confident we can now use the grant to make Walmer Road a true sporting venue, which the communities of Pakefield and Kirkley can be proud of."

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When completed, the new Walmer Road facility will offer:

n a modern, brick-built six-suite dressing room complex for sportsmen and women using the recreation ground for football and cricket

n a state-of-the-art floodlit artificial training pitch that will be made available for community use

n parking and pedestrian access improvements to assist residents.

As part of a five-year development plan, the grant will also enable a number of major activities to take place, including FA coaching and refereeing and first aid courses.

Girls and women's football will also be developed at Walmer Road with Kirkley and Pakefield Community Sports and Social Club taking over the 30-year lease of the ground from Waveney District Council.

John Pitts, the club's vice-chairman and chairman of Pakefield FC, said: "The upgrade will enhance the development of both football clubs and will prove critical in the delivery of our five-year grass roots football for all development plan for the community."

Jamie Houchen, of the Football Association's regional development group in the eastern area, said the upgrade in facilities would benefit a large number of youth teams in the area and support Kirkley FC in its ambition to progress further through the league structures.

The grant was made by the Football Foundation and consisted of £376,000 to upgrade the Walmer Road facilities and £52,500 to support the clubs' five-year football development plan. That is on top of the £100,000 awarded earlier this year to complete stadium improvement works.

Peter Lee, the Football Foundation chief executive, said: "We are delighted to back this new community facility which will undoubtedly become a focal point for the grassroots game and provide a lasting legacy for the community in and around Kirkley."

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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