Conservative Council opens State-of-the-art grassroots sports hub in Melksham, Wiltshire
Above: Cake cutting Oakfields from L-R: Dave Wiltshire chairman of Melksham Town FC, Michelle Donelan MP, Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE Leader of Wiltshire Council, Pat Holtom, chairman of Melksham RFC, Alan McLoughlin ex professional footballer, Jonathon Seed cabinet member for leisure.
Melksham’s new £7.3m state-of-the-art grassroots sports hub was officially opened yesterday (Monday, 13 February) by the Conservative Leader of Wiltshire Council, Melksham FC and Melksham RFC.
Now called Oakfields, it includes a 1,773 sq m sports centre which holds separate facilities for each club, including 16 football and rugby pitches that accommodate both junior and senior competition, along with a new car park and access road.
The project was primarily funded by the Conservative Wiltshire Council and received grants from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, and the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) – the largest funders of non-league football in the country.
Conservative-run Wiltshire Council worked alongside the Football Foundation and Wiltshire FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan – a long-term vision of how sport will be played on-site. As part of this plan, 14-25 participation is projected to rise by 70%, while the venue will also hold CPD programmes for coaches and referees.
Wiltshire Council cabinet member for campuses, Conservative Councillor John Thomson, said:
It’s fantastic this wonderful new facility is complete and already the community has turned out in their droves to support it. We have committed significant investment into Melksham to deliver this new sports facility, the Market Place re-development, a new skate park and a health and wellbeing centre for the Melksham community.
Woolmore Farm is the first phase of this project and the improvements to the Market Place are now underway, with work to provide the new skate park starting in April.
Dave Wiltshire, Chairman of Melksham Town FC, said: “This brilliant facility will enhance the work we are already doing to make this a superb community football club. We already have nearly 600 players signed up, so we really need this. I’m amazed by how it looks and it’s great to see it fully used.
Pat Holtom, Chairman of Melksham RFC, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to grow rugby in the town. I’m looking forward to more and more people getting involved including volunteers, parents and of course players. A big thanks must go to everyone who has helped make this a reality.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Wiltshire Council to build a fantastic new sports hub. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.4bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.
“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This project in Melksham is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it, and to stay healthy."
Above: Plaque reveal Oakfields from L-R: Alan McLoughlin ex professional footballer, Dave Wiltshire chairman of Melksham Town FC, Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE Leader of Wiltshire Council, Michelle Donelan MP, Jonathon Seed cabinet member for leisure.