GOATACRE Cricket Club’s ten-year pursuit of an upgraded pavilion is set to be realised after the village hall received a £46,000 windfall from Sport England, writes Sam Morshead.
Last year’s National Village Knockout Cup semi-finalists’ fairytale success over the last three seasons has shot the club to prominence and, as part of the Inspired Facilities fund, they could soon have the facilities to match their lofty league status.
The Inspired Facilities initiative was set up after the Olympics as a way of helping spread the legacy of the Games across the country.
In all, more than 1,000 local sports projects will be granted cash sums to help improve their infrastructures, and Goatacre intend to use theirs to double the size of the village hall’s changing rooms and build viewing balconies looking over the cricket ground.
Club secretary Eddie Jenkinson said the grant will assist in Goatacre’s bid to fall in line with other clubs in the upper echelons of the West of England League.
“It’s been about ten years in our minds to get these improvements done and I think what has happened in the last three or four years, particularly with the cricket, has meant that we have gone a bit quicker than we had anticipated. The facilities haven’t necessarily kept pace with that,” he said.
“All these things add together to make a good story so the fact that we’ve been successful with the cricket and we’re attracting a lot of youngsters certainly adds to the criteria that Sport England look for on this.
“They want to support new ventures as well as established ones, but they want to make sure the money is invested for the long term.
“If you’ve got a better track record the better chance you’ve got on this kind of funding.
“The cricket club as a section of the village hall is helping to lead the project.
“The standard that we’ve been playing cricket at in the last few years has meant we’ve gone to other places, the likes of Cheltenham and Weston-super-Mare and a number of others, makes us realise what we should be aspiring to.”
Village hall chairman Graham Iles said: “Sporting activity has always played an important part in the life of many villages and this one in particular.
“I’ve enjoyed playing cricket for Goatacre for over 50 years and to see the improvements this award will enable us to make is absolutely brilliant.
“Over the years we have been able to attract many junior and senior members from the surrounding villages and this will significantly improve the standard of our facilities.
“It has taken a lot of hard work to secure this funding and it really is a fantastic start to 2013.”