All weather pitch for Uckfield

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A SCHEME which could make Uckfield a Mecca for young people and sportsmen and women across the county needs your help if it is to succeed.

Work to create the all-weather pitch on land at Uckfield Community Technology College should begin this winter and finish in time to open in Spring 2012. Although it is Uckfield’s Olympian project, the pitch will go on serving the community for many years after the London Olympic flame has been extinguished.

So far the scheme has won the support of most major sports clubs and groups in the town and the land has been generously made available by East Sussex County Council.

Major funding body, the Football Foundation, has pledged its support but match funding must be provided by the community before work on the project can begin.

All Weather Pitch for Uckfield (AWP4U) co-ordinator Jeremy Hallett said: “The overall cost of the scheme will be in the region of £480,000. To date we have secured potential funding of £385,000. There is no doubting the challenge to raise the rest of the money but with commitment from all involved we believe that it can be achievable.”

The first move must be for Football Foundation technical experts to make detailed surveys of the land so the quality and geology of the ground can be assessed. As that cost will be about £20,000 those surveys will not be undertaken until enough money has been pledged to make the whole scheme financially viable. If the funding is not forthcoming in time the proposal will go on hold and could be excluded from future budgets and lost for ever.

Jeremy said: “We are appealing to companies, individuals and sports clubs for support. People can also ‘sponsor’ a square metre of the pitch for £10. At this stage we do not need the actual money – all we need are pledges so that major sponsors and the councils involved can see the community is committed to the pitch.”

Meetings are also being held with people living alongside the proposed pitch so any problems can be ironed out. For example, Jeremy cites floodlighting where up-to-date technology means potential ‘light spill’ is reduced to a minimum.

So far financial commitment has been promised by Uckfield Town Council, the Football Foundation, Freedom Leisure, Uckfield Grasshoppers Junior Football Club, Uckfield Rugby Club, Peter Taylor Associates, Uckfield Town Football Club and Uckfield Community Technology College.

To support the scheme or find out more email: info@awp4u.co.uk or leave your name and number at: 01825 764844, ext 1252.