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1.7m sports hub set to open in Aylesham

Fri 10th Jun 2011 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

Local people in the former mining village of Aylesham are getting ready to celebrate the opening of a new state-of-the-art sports complex. 

The remodelled site now houses six changing rooms, two officials changing rooms, wheelchair accessible toilets, a community room, a kitchen and plant storage. These provisions allow for local sportspeople to make best use of the site’s two full size grass pitches, two junior size grass football pitches, five Mini-Soccer grass pitches, a rugby pitch, a third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch and a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA). Forecasts suggest that more than 1,000 people will use the new facility every week. 

Aylesham and Snowdon Social Welfare Scheme (ASSWS) manage the complex and aim to provide ‘cradle to grave’ sport and cultural activities. For example, Snowdon and Aylesham Colliery Welfare Football Club (SACWFC) which was formed in early 2008, are the local football team.

The Club currently has seven teams which will increase to 15 by year five of a football development plan which also hopes win the club FA Charter Standard Community status. A similar plan for rugby development will focus on enhancing junior and youth rugby opportunities for boys and girls, in addition to the senior teams operating at present. 

The project was funded with the help of a £1m grant from the Football Foundation. Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government via Sport England, the Football Foundation is the nation’s largest sports charity. Launched in July 2000, the Foundation celebrated its tenth anniversary last year and has so far supported around 8,000 community sports projects worth £945m. 

Derek Garrity, ASSWS Project Leader, said: “Everyone is absolutely delighted with the new facility, it means a great deal to this community. Throughout the process we have kept the history of the area at the heart of all improvements we made. I would like to thank the Football Foundation for all their help and also the ASSWS project team for all their hard work.” 

George Gilchrist, ASSWS Chairman, said: “This is a dream come true, I never imagined we would actually deliver this project but because of a lot of hard work we have and the finished product is absolutely fantastic. The new facilities will allow the ASSWS to continue our fine tradition of providing sporting opportunities to the local community. I must place on record my thanks to the Football Foundation for their grant and continued support.” 

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We are delighted that Snowdon and Aylesham Colliery Welfare FC and the local community will have access to these fantastic new facilities and commend the club and the Kent FA for their hard work in making this happen.” 

“This is the latest example of thousands of projects across the country that the Football Foundation is supporting with money provided by our funding partners the Premier League, The FA and Government.” 

“Since the Foundation was set up in 2000 it has worked closely with the Kent FA to support 262 grass roots sports projects across the county with grants worth £11.3m. These grants have attracted further partnership funding of £13.4m into the area’s grass roots.” 

The official opening of the new building will take place at 12:00 on Saturday 11 June at Snowdown Colliery Welfare FC, Spinney Lane, Aylesham, CT3 3AF

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