Devizes Canoe Club has received a massive boost towards developing its new base with the award of £50,000 from Sport England.
A former depot owned by Wiltshire Council at Lower Wharf, off Northgate Street, is being transferred to the club under the community asset transfer scheme.
Developing the depot into a canoe base will cost about £150,000 and the club has received its first major grant of £50,000 from Sport England.
The award was made as part of Sport England’s contribution towards the sporting legacy of the London 2012 and Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Mark Bouch, vice-chairman of Devizes Canoe Club, said: “We are deeply grateful to Sport England for their exceptional support to this exciting project. “This award will fund the development of a new shower and changing facility that all members will really value.
“We would also like to say a very public thank you to Wadworth Brewery who have generously offered additional land at Lower Wharf to the club so we can build a launching point into the canal.
“Our project to develop a premier watersports club in the centre of Devizes is gaining momentum and will enable us to continue to provide canoeing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities in our community.”
The club was formed in 2009 and has experienced rapid growth. It is a family-orientated club and has 115 members, but it has no facilities of its own and members change in the car park at The Wharf and borrow storage facilities from the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.
Mr Bouch said the club, which became a registered charity last month, is applying for £50,000 from its governing body Canoe England and, if successful, would have to raise the remaining £50,000 through fundraising and sponsorship.
The remaining costs would pay for a boat store, a launching point for canoes and redeveloping the depot at Lower Wharf.
Devizes MP Claire Perry MP, a strong supporter of the club, said: “I am delighted that Sport England have awarded Devizes Canoe Club £50,000 to help develop their new canoe club at Lower Wharf, Devizes.
“This is such good news, allowing the club to continue to provide such wonderful canoeing opportunities to constituents of all ages and abilities.”