Sport

Football team's home ground plans take a step forward

Work is about to start to develop Rishton United's pitches

Cllr Clare Cleary, Martin Proffitt, Cllr Paul Cox, Chic Kelly, Cllr Miles Parkinson, John Leaver at Rishton United FC

Football will finally be coming home for a club when £280,000 improvement works get underway on its ground.

The Rishton United project aims to improve Norden Playing Fields for future players.

The club, working with community investment company Proffitts and Hyndburn council, is ready to start work on the project which will improve the site by draining and levelling the grass area to allow more pitches.

Hyndburn council granted the club a 25-year lease at the site which enabled them to establish the land as their home ground and apply for funding from Sport England and the Lancashire Football Association. They require a lease of that length as part of any funding application.

Funding for the £280,000 scheme has also come from Lancashire Environment Fund, Newground Together, Tesco and the council.

Chic Kelly, United chairman, said: “We are really excited to see the project get underway and finally bring local grass roots football back to Rishton. Our teams have had to travel across the borough to play matches and attend training so this will be welcomed by everyone to have our own home ground. While we’ve spent seven years on this project there’s still some fundraising to organise to ensure we complete phase 2 and provide changing facilities and a clubhouse.

“The club has teams from under-6s through to under-16s and adult teams and it will be great to see the numbers increase.”

A fence will be installed around the pitches to prevent horses and motorbikes damaging the playing surface. There will also be seating areas for spectators built and new paths created for better access.

Dave Campbell, club secretary added: “The development will also see opportunities for local businesses to get involved and support the project through sponsorship, donations and any services that might help the development come to life. If any companies wish to offer their support then they can contact me on 07785 362909.”

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Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “This is great news for the whole community as it will promote sport for everyone from youngsters through to seniors. The club have done a lot of hard work to get the funding to make their dream come alive, so it’s fantastic to see their plans coming to fruition now.”