England’s leading all-time appearance maker, Peter Shilton OBE spent his 63rd birthday at Alresford Village Hall near Wivenhoe on 18th September to officially open a new extension to the community’s changing rooms and sports pavilion, built with the help of a grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF).
The pavilion has been at the heart of the community since it was built in the 1930s, providing a home for Alresford Colne Rangers FC, and the work that started in April this year has provided new expansions to the original building. The interiors of the hall and sports pavilion at Ford Lane have also been dramatically altered and improved.
Plans have been in place to conduct the renovations since 2000 and the project had overwhelming support from villagers, plus the hall and pavilion’s many users. Speaking from the opening, Shilton said: “There has been a tremendous amount of work put in by a number of individuals, and it’s fantastic to see. It’s brilliant to see the money at the top of the game coming down to the grassroots. Projects like this are very dear to my heart.”
The complex can now accommodate sports and leisure facilities for a rapidly growing amount of users. The pavilion has changing rooms, showers and toilets and the hall has storage space for equipment used by the youth club and other regular users. There is also a new clubroom for sports use and public hire, and a new pitched roof tops off the pavilion.
Funds for the £250,000 project came from several organisations, including: the Derbyshire Environmental Trust (Lafarge), Essex Environmental Trust, Essex County Council, Tendring District Council and the Garfield Weston Trust. The FSIF and The Veolia Environmental Trust awarded grants of £50,000 and £39,500. The need for funding at Alresford was also supported by the Essex County FA, who assisted with the application.
Ernie Osborne, Alresford Parish Council Chairman and local referee, said: “The facilities here previously were pretty ramshackle. The old extension was built by footballers! The money provided by the FSIF was very important. This is the grassroots, and where it all starts. The new facilities will make a big difference to the village and it really has brought us together.”
Peter McCormick, Chairman of the FSIF, said: “I am delighted that my colleagues and I have been able to award this grant to Alresford Parish Council and Alresford Colne Rangers FC to allow them to develop their village hall and sports pavilion. FSIF staff work hard to make sure that the funding that is generously provided by the Premier League each year goes as far as possible and benefits as many clubs and supporters as it possibly can.”
To learn more about the Football Foundation visit their website at www.footballfoundation.org.uk. Alternatively, further information about the various funding channels available in grassroots football can be found at the official Essex County FA website, www.essexfa.com, or by following @EssexCountyFA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/EssexCountyFA.