Village gets £50,000 towards a sports hall revamp
A WEST Oxfordshire village has been given £50,000 to help build new sports changing facilities.
Freeland Parish Council is hoping to raise £200,000 to continue a revamp of its sports facilities.
A new hall, replacing a dilapitated pavilion, was officially opened by Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron last year, but does not have yet have changing room facilities.
The village football and cricket clubs are using a portable building – described as like a lorry container – to change, but it is costing £100 a week to rent.
Now West Oxfordshire District Council has come up with a £50,000 grant which the village hopes will bring in more donations so the extension can be completed next year.
Parish council chairman Peter Newell said: “It is difficult to get big donors such as Sports England to give us money until we have a major donor, but this will get it all going.
“The old hall was built in 1965 and was getting steadily dilapidated and fewer people wanted to use it.
“It was so poorly insulated that wind went through the building.”
He said the council could not raise enough to build the hall and changing rooms in one go and an integrated £700,000 project fell through 10 years ago for this reason.
He added: “By having a phased system we could build the hall and then go fundraising for the second part.”
Freeland Football Club president Jon Langford said: “This grant is fantastic news and hopefully now we can push on with getting the rest of the money and getting it built.
“It is important for the village environment that we improve the facilities.
“The last thing I want is for our lovely playing fields to stop being used.”
Mr Langford said, despite Freeland being a small village of about 1,500 residents, the club has five men’s teams and a youth team.
West Oxfordshire District Council also granted cash to Bampton and Combe cricket clubs to improve facilities at its cabinet meeting last Wednesday.
Bampton in the Bush Cricket Club will get £9,500 to purchase new equipment, including a sight screen, score board, wicket covers and a bowling machine.
Combe Junior Sports will receive £2,000 to expand their single lane cricket facilities into a double lane to allow them to take on more members.
Richard Langridge, district council cabinet member for communities, said: “Sport is a great way to bring communities together.
“These grants are part of our commitment to supporting local communities and encouraging participation in sports and recreation in our district.”