Heywood CC’s Crimble ground is set to benefit from massive improvements thanks to funding from Sport England.
The club has been granted £37,480 of National Lottery funding to improve the square and outfield following some of the problems with drainage in recent years.
Many areas of the ground are among the quickest draining in the CLL, but there have been severe problems with blocked drains, while the square is uneven in parts and while some wickets can be kept dry, others are prone to waterlogging.
There have been many examples in recent times where Crimble has been fit to play when other grounds haven’t, but this has been thanks to the tireless efforts of the club’s volunteers, who have worked wonders.
However, serious problems have been identified which could impact on cricket across all the age groups, something Heywood are keen avoid. Work will include the installation of new drainage on the outfield and a reconstruction and levelling of the central square to improve the quality of the playing surface and to reduce fixture cancellations.
Bobby Cross, who has been behind many of the club’s successful applications for grants, stressed the value of such financial support as is granted by the likes of Sport England.
He said: “We are delighted that Sport England has approved funding to allow us to improve the quality of the square and to add drainage to the outfield. These improvements, along with the guarantee of protection for at least 25 years, means that Crimble can now be enjoyed by our community for many years to come.
“This work will allow more matches to be played and for young cricketers in the county to play on an even better surface to help us produce the next generation of players. Heywood Cricket Club is committed to providing a facility that the local community can be proud of and one that will be sustainable for the future and we thank Sport England for their support in this project.”
Paul Bryson, Clubs and Leagues Manager at the Lancashire Cricket Board was delighted for the club.
He said: “This is tremendous news, and reward for the hard work the club and its many volunteers put in all year round. The grant and associated ground improvement work will mean more cricket and practice will take place, and on a better surface, and as a result it will also mean the club will have the ability to generate further revenue helping the club to become sustainable.”
Heywood CC is one of 97 sports projects across England to receive a share of £5.5 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s ‘Protected Playing Fields’ fund to improve and protect their playing fields.
The latest round of funding from Sport England will help upgrade 97 projects, which are responsible for 230 sports pitches, across the country as well as protecting them for a minimum of 25 years. This brings the total number of sports pitches improved and protected by the fund to almost 1,000 – totalling 3,500 acres – since 2011.
Sport England Chair, Nick Bitel, said: “We know how valuable playing fields are to communities throughout the country, giving individuals and teams somewhere to get active and enjoy sport. This fund allows us to maintain and protect these spaces so that high quality sports pitches are available in the heart of communities.”
Due to the huge demand for the programme and the high quality of applications received the initial £4 million budget for the latest funding round was increased by £1.5 million, allowing more projects to benefit.
Of the 97 projects receiving funding in today’s announcement, 33 wish to become Queen Elizabeth II Fields after agreeing to dedicate their playing field in “perpetuity”. This is thanks to a partnership with Fields in Trust (FIT) which is running the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge as part of the programme to mark the Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said: “Fields in Trust is delighted that the Protecting Playing Fields fund has raised the awareness of the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge to so many sites and led to numerous expressions of interest in being protected through the Challenge. Investment to improve spaces such as those protected through Fields in Trust and increase participation on them is always much needed and so it is fantastic to see the funding provided by Sport England.”
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