CHIPPENHAM Town have been given a huge funding boost to help improve the facilities at their Hardenhuish Park home after being awarded a grant by the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF).

As sister organisation of the Football Foundation, the FSIF are the largest funders of non-league football in the country.

The £186,228 FSIF grant will enable the Bluebirds – who ply their trade two tiers outside the Football League in National League South – to build a new clubhouse, expand their existing car park and install a new pitch irrigation system at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium.

The project will help the club to replace the existing accommodation, which is deteriorating and at the end of its usable life, as well as providing additional on-site car parking.

The new pitch irrigation system will replace the existing dilapidated and manually-operated system – helping the club to improve the overall standard of its playing pitch.

A club statement read: “The FSIF award also allows the club to progress other allocated funding streams which contribute towards the overall cost of the project.

“The board will now consider how to take work forward, hoping to commence as soon as possible and in accordance with the conditions of the various grant awards.

“The board is also very conscious of the contribution supporters have made towards the project and both acknowledges and values your support.

“We hope you will bear with us once work begins as there will inevitably be some disruption to the ground, although the aim will be to keep this to the absolute minimum.”

Chippenham chairman Neil Blackmore said: “This news represents a significant achievement for the club and is something we have been working towards for some two or three years.

“It has not been a straightforward path and we have encountered some novel issues along the way but we have persevered and I am delighted with the outcome.

“It is the board’s hope that the work on which we are about to embark will provide the town of Chippenham and the club’s supporters with a football club better equipped for the future and a stadium which everyone can enjoy.”

Peter McCormick OBE, chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “It is great to hear that a grant from the Premier League, through the FSIF, is going to help Chippenham Town to overhaul the facilities at Hardenhuish Park, which will improve the matchday experience for fans and players alike.

“Through the FSIF, the Premier League is committed to improving the standard of infrastructure at all levels of the game.

“It is important that investment makes its way to lower league clubs, and Chippenham Town’s ground improvements is one example of what this funding can do.”