£80,000 sports facility opens in village for first time
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A new multi-use games area, costing £80,000, has opened up in a Suffolk village.
Residents in Tunstall in east Suffolk have been enjoying the new sports pitch on the village's recreation ground close to the Green Man pub.
The area is set up to be used for football, netball, tennis and basketball.
Two groups have already taken up residence at the games area: Tunstall Netball Club and a youth session run by Ipswich Town.
The project came about after £30,000 of funds were made available from East Suffolk Council for sport and play facilities in the village following the construction of new houses on Street Farm Close.
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The Parish Council asked the village residents how they would like the funds to be used; the top suggestions were improvements to the hall, the bowls club or a multi-use games area.
The multi-use games area won the vote.
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Further funding for the project came from Sport England and the East Suffolk Council's exemplar fund which provided £43,000 and £10,000 respectively.
A further £1,500 came from councillor Ray Herring’s enabling communities fund, £1,500 from Tunstall Parish Council and the rest of the money from village fundraising including quiz nights.
Much of the research and work to bring the games area to fruition was done by the project team which was overseen by the Parish Council, in particular retired clerk Judi Hallett, previous parish council chairman Steve Smith and current clerk Tiffany Pollock.
It had been hoped that the pitch would be open by the end of 2020 but delays caused by the coronavirus and wet weather pushed the project back.
Former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks was at the games area on the day to help open up the space for local people to use.
Ms Pollock is also the head of the netball club and said that the area had been warmly welcomed so far.
"The netball club absolutely love it, we are all loving it," she said. "I don't know how we did it in the end."
Those wishing to book the multi use games area can do so by visiting the Tunstall Parish Council website.