Local sports enthusiasts in Kendal were bowled over as they celebrated a £145,395 grant awarded by the Football Foundation, the UK's largest sports charity.
The cash bonanza allowed Netherfield Cricket Club to provide new changing rooms in a pavilion to support football, cricket and bowls.
The current changing facilities are in a dilapidated state and are now no longer adequate to support the growth in participation. The new facility at Netherfield allows the football clubs to operate from this site which will enable them to be sustainable and also use the facility for social events, meetings and training opportunities and also as a revenue generator which in turn will support the clubs to develop sport in the area.
The project will include four team changing rooms, two referees rooms and associated toilet and storage facilities to service one full size, one junior, one Mini Soccer pitch and grass training area which will enable the club to base the majority of community football activities on one site. This funding will allow the club to create the physical infrastructure to realise the aspirations of the clubs and will allow an extension to the range of football activities on offer and generally enhance the football facilities for all players associated with Kendal County, Wattsfield Juniors, and Kirkbie Kendal School.
Kendal County and Wattsfield Juniors have 16 teams and as part of their five year development plan the aim is to increase this to 28. This project would enable the club to meet its target of increasing the number of teams and allow them to continue the excellent progress they have made since their formation.
Wattsfield Juniors who currently use the football pitches at Netherfield were formed in 1973 and the club now has over 200 registered players from Mini-Soccer through to Under 16 level, including girl's football. Kendal County, the adult club are also based at the site and have two teams with the first team playing in the Westmorland Division One league. Although Wattsfield Juniors are one of the largest and historically one of the most successful youth clubs in the county, it continues to have a nomadic existence, and the club therefore suffers from not having a main base from which to direct its football activities. Again, this project will address that.
The Football Foundation is dedicated to revitalising the grass roots of the game, constructing modern football facilities, developing football as a force for social cohesion and as a vehicle for education in communities throughout the country. Funded by the Premier League, The Football Association and the Government, the Football Foundation is the national's largest sports charity with a A 40m budget going straight into the heart of football.
Ian Heath Secretary at Netherfield Cricket Club, said: We are very grateful to the Football Foundation who along with the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Clarks Foundation are helping to provide the very best changing rooms for the largest private sports facility in South Lakeland.
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation said: We warmly congratulate Netherfield Cricket Club and the Westmorland County FA for their hard work and dedication in securing this award.
Sport is playing a central role in helping people to stay fit, strengthen communities and promote responsibility amongst young people. It is thanks to the funding from our partners the Premier League, The FA and Government that the Football Foundation exists to support this type of excellent project in Kendal.
Pictured to the right is the 4 bay state of the art net area which is arguably up their as one of the best in the county!