New pitch funding delay

Fleetwood RUFC chairman Colin Goodwin (left) and president David Buckingham on the pitch.
Fleetwood RUFC chairman Colin Goodwin (left) and president David Buckingham on the pitch.

Plans for a brand new all-purpose sports pitch in Fleetwood have been delayed by spiralling costs.

Fleetwood Rugby Union Football Club, on Melbourne Avenue, hopes to replace its ageing training pitch but has now been told it may have to find an extra £30,000.

The current astro-turf surface is widely used in the community, with around 600 people a week benefiting from the facility.

But club bosses have said it is in desperate need of replacing and had hoped to apply to Sport England for funding to help meet the costs involved.

It hopes to install a pitch with the latest 3G technology, something it says will benefit the whole town.

Club president David Buckingham said: “In order to receive a large grant, I am told that the Rugby Football Union will insist on the structure being under-supported.

“We would need something called a shock pad and it will add £30,000 to the price.”

The additional layer underneath the artificial pitch would bring the surface up to the higher standards required for certain levels of rugby.

The club has so far raised around £16,000 itself to put towards the cost of replacing the pitch, which was originally estimated at £80,000.

It can apply to Sport England’s Inspired Facilities scheme for up to £50,000 to help “invest in local projects that are developed and delivered by community and voluntary sector groups”.

Mr Buckingham said the club’s fund-raising efforts so far have been “impressive” – particularly given the setback they suffered earlier this year when the club’s boiler broke, forcing the committee to fork out £9,000 to replace it.

He said: “The problem is we can’t get to the finishing post because it keeps moving just before we get there.

“We have now missed the deadline for this application round but we are going to apply for the next one.

“It is a bit of a large hiccup but things are continuing to progress.”

The current astro-turf pitch is used by school children during the day and by sports teams young and old in the evenings.

The next round of funding bids will be launched in Spring 2014.

Anyone wanting to get involved with the club and help their fund-raising efforts should call (01253) 874774 or drop into the club on Melbourne Avenue in Fleetwood in person.

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