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Future is bright for club after big grant
A CLUBHOUSE set in several dozen acres of well-tended grounds became the focal point for a new chapter in the history of Swindon Supermarine Sports and Social Club yesterday.
Representatives of different disciplines united to welcome news that Sport England has awarded £50,000 to carry out upgrades which will allow thousands more people to join their sides.
The money will be used to install and improve floodlighting, allowing the numerous teams using the venue to practice for longer on dark winter evenings and in previously unlit areas.
Thousands more people of all ages will be able take part in grassroots sport on a weekly basis at the site in South Marston, which covers 34 acres in total.
They will join members already competing on a national level, including a select few tipped as Olympians of the future.Football, rugby, archery and cyclo-cross teams stand to benefit, though other clubs, including bowls, sub-aqua and semi-pro Supermarine FC, have their own facilities on the site.
A team of volunteers who took over with next to nothing 11 years ago plan to raise another £35,000 to £40,000 to purchase a high-tech lighting system.
Club chairman Martin Bryan said: “With the lighting system in place we will be able to offer training to up to 18 football teams, 10 rugby teams and between 20 and 30 archers, with up to 50 people at cyclo-cross races.”
The floodlighting involves a US-made remote system – allowing lamps to be switched on and off from outside the grounds, saving staffing costs – which are currently being installed for the first time in Europe.
The club will also treat pitches with sand, which will increase durability while being cheaper than artificial surfaces, which are also planned in the long run.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson, who helped with the funding application, said: “One of the key drivers was sustainability and we will see hundreds of new people benefit from the facilities every week, which will generate additional income for the sports clubs.
“Sport England also thought it was exceptional that so many different clubs came together for the collective good. A huge amount of time and effort went into the bid and in the end it ticked every box.”
If all goes to plan, the floodlighting will be in place by the end of October.
Dave Webb, secretary of the limited-by-guarantee company behind the club, said: “Hopefully the end result will be marvellous facilities for training and playing – they will certainly be the best in Wiltshire.”
TEAMS WELCOME IMPROVEMENTS
THE four sports clubs with most to benefit from the project welcomed the news.
Alice Smith, of Supermarine ladies’ football, said: “This will give us more opportunities to play instead of training indoors or at schools on dark nights.”
Claire Legg, of the ladies’ rugby section, said: “This is going to give us more space for training and allow us to practice on extra nights of the week.”
Daniel Smith of the GWR cyclo-cross team, said: “This is the first step for youngsters to build up to becoming road cyclists and to move on to the Tour de France and the Olympics.”
Gavin Russ, head coach of the men’s rugby section, said: “This will mean we can offer better quality training and be less limited in what we can do.”
Joan Griffiths, an archery coach with Supermarine Bowmen, said: “This means we can stay out for an extra hour or two at night.”
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