Date published: 20/02/2017
Left to right: Alan McLoughlin, Under-18s coach, Swindon Town FC; Dave Wiltshire, Chairman, Melksham Town FC; Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council; Michelle Donelan, MP for Chippenham and Cllr Jonathan Seed, Cabinet Member for Housing, Leisure, Libraries and Flooding, Wiltshire Council, opening the new multi-sport facility.
Melksham’s new state-of-the-art grassroots sports hub was officially opened recently (Monday 13 February) by representatives of Wiltshire Council, Melksham FC and Melksham RFC.
Now called Oakfields, it includes a 1,773 sq m sports centre which holds separate facilities for each club, including 16 football and rugby pitches that accommodate both junior and senior competition, along with a new car park and access road.
The project received grants from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, and the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) – the largest funders of non-league football in the country.
Wiltshire Council worked alongside the Football Foundation and Wiltshire FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan – a long-term vision of how sport will be played on-site. As part of this plan, 14-25 year-old participation is projected to rise by 70%, with CPD programmes for coaches and referees to be held at the Melksham hub.
John Thomson, Cabinet Member for Campuses, Wiltshire Council, said: “It’s fantastic this wonderful new facility is complete and already the community has turned out in their droves to support it. We have committed significant investment into Melksham to deliver this new sports facility, the Market Place re-development, a new skate park and a health and well-being centre for the Melksham community.
“Woolmore Farm is the first phase of this project and the improvements to the Market Place are now underway, with work to provide the new skate park starting in April.”
Dave Wiltshire, Chairman of Melksham Town FC, said: “This brilliant facility will enhance the work we are already doing to make this a superb community football club. We already have nearly 600 players signed up, so we really need this. I’m amazed by how it looks and it’s great to see it fully used.
Pat Holtom, Chairman of Melksham RFC, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to grow rugby in the town. I’m looking forward to more and more people getting involved including volunteers, parents and of course players. A big thanks must go to everyone who has helped make this a reality.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Wiltshire Council to build a fantastic new sports hub. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.4bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.
“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This project in Melksham is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it, and to stay healthy.”
For more information, please contact:
- Allan Clarke at email@example.com or on 01225 713 116
- Michael Boniface at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292
Notes to Editors
- The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – over £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
- Funded with £5.2m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.
- Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 51 grants worth nearly £7m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £35.7m across the whole of Wiltshire.
- By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game. Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.