Couch potatoes challenged to use new Uckfield pitch

editorial image

Rapid progress on a new state-of-the-art sports facility means Uckfield people have no excuses to be couch potatoes this summer.

The town’s new all-weather sports pitch is nearing completion. All Weather Pitch for You (AWP4U) co-ordinator Jeremy Hallett now wants to encourage people to sign up to use the pitch.

He said: “We are now planning for its opening and actual use rather than its construction. If anyone would like to get their name down for kicking a ball around who perhaps gave up a few, or many, years ago I will be very pleased to hear from them.

“Part of the challenge to us all is getting and staying fit and healthy for our longer lives.

“The weather has been horrendous but at least we now have the drainage pipes in and the pitch should be ready to use by early summer.

“We really want people to get in touch with us. There might be small businesses where just a couple of people say they’d like to play five a side football but there are not enough to make up a team. We can put them in touch with each other.

“If people really would like to use the pitch then contact us sooner rather than later, otherwise local teams will take up all the available slots. And the whole idea is that this is for all the people of Uckfield.”

During school hours in term time the pitch will be used by Uckfield Community Technology College students.

Several sports groups such as the Uckfield Grasshoppers, Uckfield Town Football Club and Uckfield Rugby Club are already planning to play or practise there. There have also been approaches from sports clubs in Lewes where pitches are too wet to use in winter.

Jeremy said Uckfield’s new 3G pitch has a ‘crumb’ surface as opposed to sand which can be boggy and heavy. This means it will stay dry and playable whatever the weather.

The scheme cost in the region of £650,000, including laying the pitch and putting up lighting.

A major fundraising drive by AWP4U has pulled in grants from Sport England (£100,000), the Football Foundation (£203,646), Uckfield Community Technology College, Freedom Leisure, Uckfield Grasshoppers, Uckfield Town Council, Uckfield Lions and many local groups and individuals.

Jeremy said: “It’s been a terrific effort by all concerned - I can’t thank people enough for the enthusiasm they have shown.

“We hope this will build on the spirit of sporting excellence generated by last year’s London Olympics.”

When the major grant sums were confirmed, College principal Hugh Hennebry said: “Uckfield will have a world class facility. It is so uplifting to see such a positive response from everybody.”

Wealden MP Charles Hendry added: “I hope every student at the college will benefit from this new pitch and many talented students representing their school will win games.”

If you are interested you can get in touch with Jeremy on: 07876 275031, 01825 766130 or via email on: jeremyhallett@btinternet.com