Big kick-off day for £2m new sports park in Aylsham
- Credit: Archant
The first competitive football match will kick off at north Norfolk's newest £2m sports park this weekend.
Youngs Park, based on the outskirts of Aylsham, was more than 10 years in the making and on Saturday several local football teams will train and play at the Cawston Road facility, including youth sides, the Aylsham FC men's first team and the reserves.
It comes following a £385,728 grant from the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation, which has been described as a 'cornerstone' of the Cawston Road project thanks to a partnership between Aylsham Football Club (AFC) and Norfolk FA.
Club chairman Ian Potter said: 'The time and effort put in by so many people both over the years and in the run up to opening has been inspiring. If we harness the level of energy which has led to this stage, the sky is the limit with what we can achieve together.
'This will be a most special place for all and create legacy for the town.'
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The Youngs family, which includes current England rugby scrum half Ben and hooker Tom, plus their dad and former England scrum half Nick, gifted the land and £500,000 as part of a wider housing development agreement. Additional funding came from Sport England, The Football Stadia Improvement Fund, Aylsham FC and Broadland District Council.
It will be home to 24 Aylsham FC teams, 10 football pitches, floodlights, a 120-space car park, a function room and potentially health and keep fit clubs, and is built alongside more than 200 new homes.
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William Youngs, uncle of Ben and Tom, said: 'This is one of the biggest and best football facilities in East Anglia,
'Our family is very proud of what is being handed over to the community and the football club. It's a real legacy to the town.'
The club is hoping for bookings for wedding anniversaries, birthdays and other functions. The not-for-profit organisation responsible for running the site will put surplus back into the project to support further improvements and maintenance.
The club is also still looking for potential sponsors to help with the finishing touches. This includes an immediate challenge of raising at least £5,000 to finish the kitchen. To donate please ring Mick McCann on 07777 661117.