A grant of almost £50,000 has been awarded to a project in Haverhill to create a national league standard 3G football facility.
The Football Stadia Improvement Fund, a supporter of the Football Foundation (FF), has given £47,899 towards providing the additional facilities for the 3G pitch at The New Croft following a joint funding bid from Haverhill Community Sports Association (HCSA) and Haverhill Borough FC.
The hefty slice of capital equates to 69 per cent of the £69,637 required to add a seated and terraced stand, turnstile, refreshment building and retractable players’ tunnel for the floodlit 3G pitch, for which £621,000 has already been secured via the FF and a bridging loan from St Edmundsbury Council.
Although the funding boost is good news for Haverhill Borough, who will play their home matches on the new pitch next season, the community benefits go much farther.
Peter Betts, the HCSA facility manager, said: “It’s a substantial amount of money.
“Now if you look at it, including the total cost of the build we have secured just under £700,000 worth of funding in 20 months, so I’m delighted really.
“It’s huge really for the town, someone said to me we are going to be the first football facility in East Anglia with two national league system standard pitches.
“We are going to have a step five and step six pitch, both compliant at the national league standard, which is fantastic.
“It provides Haverhill Borough with sustainability and it’s huge for the community as a whole as it improves the community facility.
“The refreshment facility is going to benefit all the kids and mums and dads at youth matches and community events and the Eastern Junior Alliance matches.”
Added to the latest windfall is the £2,000 already donated between Borough councillors Tony Brown and John Burns, while the HCSA, which manages the New Croft, has been busy holding fund-raising events for the project.
An application is also in for another grant from a third party to take the project closer to completion.
The additional grant has also delighted Haverhill Borough chairman, Ben Cowling, who said: “The 3G in itself is going to have a lot of users, a lot of footfall through it in terms of people coming in.
“We are going to have a lot of exposure from it in terms of sponsorship.
“In terms of players, last season was really hard and I can’t thank Westy (first team manager Martin Westcott) and Choaty (reserve team manager Anthony Choat) enough for keeping things together on the playing front because we didn’t have anywhere to go (after this season) and that was common knowledge and I think this is going to be a real carrot for players to come and play step six football who may have dropped out for a bit.”