Work has started on Haverhill’s £690,000 third-generation artificial football pitch to allow year-round play.
The first turf has been cut from the old grass pitches at Haverhill Community Sports Association’s New Croft ground and contractors are on site to start work, which is hoped will mean the new 3G pitch will be in use by the end of August.
For Peter Betts, facilities manager and football development officer, it is the culmination of two years hard work, planning, applying for grants and fund raising.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel, now,“ he said. “It’s great to have the contractors on site.”
Peter said the greatest cause of people dropping out of football was poor facilities, but the new pitch means ‘52 weeks a year football’.
He added: “This will give people of all ages excellent playing surfaces. We’ve always had a problem in Haverhill with the clay soil.
“The worst thing for me, personally, was seeing so many disappointed children when games were called off – now they know they’re going to get football.
“It’s mainly city areas getting 3G pitches but we’ve had a lot of support from local authorities – St Edmundsbury were supportive and Suffolk FA have ben fantastic.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council agreed to lend HCSA £300,000, matching a Football Federation grant for the ground which is at capacity with 35 clubs using the existing grass pitches.
The new pitch will cost £600,000 with a further £90,000 for ancillary facilities including seating and refreshments.