Durham Cricket Club is set to start work on its new nursery training ground after it received a £100,000 cash boost.
County Durham Community Foundation (CDCF), The Banks Group and the Sir James Knott Trust have collectively raised the money, which will be added to the £50,000 the club raised in a crowd-funding drive last December.
The ground will be a community resource for developing cricketers across the county and the region and give a vital boost to young people and women cricketers,.
Work will begin immediately on outdoor nets, which are used in practice, and the club is working with Durham County Council to develop a new pitch next to the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground.
The new ground, which further enhances the work done by the club through its Foundation, will become a community resource that local clubs can tap into to further the abilities of their team, allowing them to practice on a professional standard field.
The main supporter is CDCF, a grant-making charity that supports community groups across County Durham.
Chief executive Barbara Gubbins said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be supporting DCCC in its quest to make cricket an even more accessible sport for community groups – and particularly young people – in the area.
“The work the club has done through its academy for many years – and with limited resources – is testament to the passion, commitment and ability of its team, and we know what a huge difference this added capacity – thanks to increased training space – will bring to groups accessing it through the foundation and indeed the academy.”
“The club is a huge asset to the North East and we are proud to be able to close off such an important year for CDCF with this announcement, which will leave a lasting legacy that can be used by people in the county for many years to come.”
As well as £40,000 from CDCF, The Banks Group has donated £30,000 along with £30,000 from the Sir James Knott Trust.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, a mining, energy and property firm, said: “As a Durham based firm, we are passionate about the area and we are always proud to support causes that bring benefits to the local community.
“The nursery training ground will deliver a huge boost to the area, so we’re thrilled be helping turn DCCC’s vision into a reality.”
It was announced in May the club had been backed by the Sir James Knott Trust, an independent, grant-making charitable trust based in Newcastle.
Viv Stapley, trust secretary, said: “Durham County Cricket Club has extensive reach, supporting young people from right across the North East through its grassroots outreach work through the foundation, and indeed the academy, which trains and develops the most promising young stars.
“The trust aims to change lives across the region, so lending our support to this project is a great fit for us and something we are proud to put our name to.”
Last November, bosses at DCCC announced a CrowdFunder effort to raise £50,000 that would kick off the bid to get the nursery ground developed. Scores of people from across the North East got behind the bid, and managed to raise more than their target within six weeks.
David Harker, chief executive of Durham County Cricket Club, said he is thrilled that the year was ending with news that the nursery ground has raised sufficient support to get started.
He said: “This nursery ground really will help us to change many more lives in the area, and build upon the fantastic efforts of our teams. We have a very successful programme in place at the moment that is about encouraging grassroots cricket, and engagement with young people. However, that outreach programme is limited by a real lack of playing fields in which young people can practice and hone their skills.
“And that doesn’t just apply to young people. Demands placed on local community clubs can often mean that women do not get their chance to partake in the sport, and we have seen at the club that our best female talent has had no option but to move away from the North East to pursue a career in cricket. To have a space that can be used by so many will truly transform the club’s ability to positively change lives, so we cannot thank CDCF, The Banks Group and the Sir James Knott Fund enough – for their kind support.”
More details of the scheme and how it will look, will be shared over the next few months.