A major sports project in the village of Eversley, Hampshire has been boosted by a grant of £666,556 from the Football Foundation, the UK’s largest sports charity. The money has been awarded to the Eversley Sports Association (ESA) for eight football pitches, an additional cricket square, a new changing room complex and an extension to the existing Clubhouse. 
The grassroots community project will provide the first permanent home for the California Junior Football Club (CFC) and their 30 teams and enable Eversley Football Club (EFC) to return to a home base in the village. In addition, Eversley Cricket Club (ECC), which has over 230 young cricketers, both boys and girls, will get much-needed additional facilities. 
Over 12 acres of new playing fields are being developed behind the existing cricket ground at Cross Green, Eversley, on a former gravel quarry site that has been in- filled. The ESA has negotiated a 45year lease on the land which will become the home of the participating clubs. 
Michael Slater, Chairman of the ESA and Past President of ECC, said: “The project has taken eight years to plan and finance and the ESA Committee and others have worked extremely hard to get where we are today. We fortunately have an extremely able and resourceful group of people who contributed to the business plan, engineering designs, planning applications and finance etc. Now at long last there will be a focus for sport providing continuity from junior to senior level in  football and cricket in the village where we have a sports club history going  back some 220 years.” 
The ESA Committee includes Derek Wiseman, Estates Manager for the landowners Cemex UK, and Mr Slater continued: “We are particularly pleased with the co-operation and assistance we received from Cemex UK, the land owner, and Alan Hadley Ltd, their principal contractor, throughout the Project planning and design process.” 
In addition to the award, which represents 44% of the £1.51 million total project costs, Cemex and Hadley have contributed £505,000 in work on land formation, top soiling, car parks, access roads and other infrastructure. This work is well under way and we plan to complete the whole Project within twelve months. 
This will be subject to further outstanding funding applications with local governments, other funding agencies and the private sector. Details are being finalised for support from several prominent local businesses. An invitation to “Sponsor A Sod” has been launched, where individuals can purchase 10 square metre of turf and also stand a chance to win a £1000. 
Dave Bland, Treasurer of the ESA and Vice-chair of the CFC, said: “We have already raised a lot of money through a number of special ESA events, including five fireworks spectaculars, two dinner dances and a number of smaller fundraising functions. 
“We have also received great support from local business and from Eversley Parish Council who have donated over £41000, and are actively represented on the ESA by parish councillor Doug Bradley.” 
Paul Latham, who represents the EFC on the ESA, said: “The ESA still needs to raise a further £60K from other funders, but now the Football Foundation have declared their investment we hope that other contributions will be forthcoming. EFC are particularly pleased at the prospect of playing in the village again and having a closer association with the Junior Football teams from CFC to provide continuity.”