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By Tristan Harris Thursday 27 March 2014 Updated: 27/03 23:24
THE CHAIRMAN of Bromsgrove Hockey Club has said the organisation's astroturf pitch at their St Godwalds Road ground should be in place for the start of the new 2015/16 season.
The Astro-4-All project was launched almost four years ago to highlight to the community that whilst the club had been established for about 120 years in Bromsgrove, it has had to play its 'home' fixtures in Redditch for more than 20 years because it did not have an astroturf.
As well as 'bringing hockey home to Bromsgrove', the development would also support an all year round cricket system, football and other sports.
It is hoped now it will all come together over the next few months.
Libby Joss told The Standard the Bromsgrove Cricket, Tennis and Hockey Club (BCHTC) had been working hard behind the scenes to make its ambition of building a top quality, sand-dressed hockey astroturf pitch a reality.
She added it could also be used in the daytime and evening by schools, clubs and colleges which struggled to find suitable playing surfaces for their sports.
Sport England has opened round three of its improvement fund and if the BCHTC's bid, currently being put together, is successful, it will provide just 50 per cent of the cost of the project. The decision as to whether the group gets that funding will be made at the end of April.
“The difficulty with these projects is getting the different funding pots in place at the same time.
"Sport England requires match funding to be in place prior to application.
"Currently we have conditionally confirmed financial support from the National Hockey Foundation and England Hockey and expressed support from Bromsgrove District Council.
"In addition Redrow Homes has assisted us by providing an electric supply and we have received a generous donation from local business Mason and Jones Group," added Libby.
She said BCHTC members had been supportive with £40,000 worth of donations and loans, which were raised through various fund-raising events, but added some of that cash had been used improving the project's viability.
Lorraine Aspland, leading the scheme, said it had been a roller-coaster with many ups and downs, progressions and setbacks.
"However we have battled through and we have received invaluable support from numerous individuals but in particular from Notts Sports which is experienced in developing Synthetic Turf Pitches (STPs).
"We are now at the point where there are no major hurdles to overcome, apart from the funding."
Libby also welcomed the planning permission and funding for South Bromsgrove High School to build a synthetic 3G pitch.
"People have asked us if that jeopardises the chances of us getting the funding for the Hockey Astroturf, but we have been assured that each project is considered on its own merit.
"Unfortunately league hockey cannot be played on a 3G surface, however the 2012 Sport England Facility Planning Model run for STPs in Bromsgrove and the 2009 Playing Pitch Strategy highlights that there is more than enough demand to accommodate both pitches and more.”
Anyone wanting more information on the project should call Lorraine Aspland on 07855 429592.
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