Update on new pitches
More detail to follow...
Playing Facilities Update
Today the Cobham Sports Association (CSA) is an established multi-sport community club, a charity run by volunteers offering the sports of rugby, lacrosse, tennis and netball. The existing ten acre site has three grass pitches and three tennis courts, hosting twenty eight rugby squads (460 minis, 240 youth, 125 seniors, vets, and touch rugby teams) and six Lacrosse teams.
As everyone knows, our existing pitches simply cannot cope with the ever increasing membership numbers which are currently approaching 1000. Despite professional ground staff and a grounds budget, the intensity of use due to the success of the CSA means that the pitches deteriorate badly early in the season. Summer activity is severely curtailed as the rest period inevitably becomes longer.
Early this year the CSA Land Committee chaired by Steve Robinson, secured a thirty year lease on a derelict ten acre golf driving range, within 100 metres of the existing ground and clubhouse. Special thanks go to David Williams and Steve’s full team of Neil Porter, Chris Manning, Simon Ashwell and Chris Humber for all their advice and hard work.
The Fairmile land represented the only viable and sustainable proposition to accommodate the CSA's expansion plans. We now plan to redevelop the driving range and build three brand new multi-sport grass pitches, which will double the existing playing facilities. The new pitches will be programmed for use principally to accommodate rugby and lacrosse and will be used for training and playing for both sections.
In the long term we hope to have
· A 95% reduction in cancelled games due to unplayable pitches
· A new senior ladies rugby section
· Mini age group sections expanded
· New evening rugby tournaments
· Increased senior rugby section members
· New youth rugby for girls aged 13 to 15
· A new state school festival for age groups 13 and 14
· A new junior boys Lacrosse section
· Facilities for Tag Rugby to be played by children with special needs
· Junior girls Lacrosse in the league
· The annual Pop Lacrosse tournament at Cobham
· Lacrosse summer camps
· Significantly improved playing pitch quality creating a sustainable Lacrosse section
· New partnerships with the local community forming a joint approach with schools
· Existing pitches used less and maintained to appropriate sustainable standards
Since the acquisition of the land a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes, again led by David Williams, and I would like to thank the new Ground Development Committee of Steve Robinson, Nick Hyams, Suzanne Whealing, Chris Humber, Paul Rooke and David Johnson for volunteering to take us to the next stage. We will shortly have completed a tendering process against a detailed specification to transform the Fairmile land into the three new pitches.
We have also applied for a major grant from Sport England’s funding programme, called “Protecting Playing Fields”, which is part of the “Places People Play Olympic Legacy Mass Participation Programme”. This is investing £10 million of National Lottery funding in community sports projects over three years from 2011-2014. It will focus on protecting and improving playing fields and developing community sport and increasing participants in sport across England at the local level. Up to £2 million is being awarded to projects in Round 1 which closed on 6 July 2011
We believe that the Fairmile Land ideally qualifies for these funds and the CSA has applied for funding in Round 1. A comprehensive application was submitted in July, and we understand successful applicants will be notified towards the end of September 2011. If we are successful, and we add this funding to our existing funding from the Peter Marsh Estate, plus fundraising activity money that we hope to raise, providing everything goes to plan, we should complete the regeneration of three pitches for the 2012/13 season. I am grateful for the strong endorsements for our Sport England application from Surrey RFU and the RFU, The English Lacrosse Association, Active Surrey, Dominic Raab MP, Surrey Special Schools and Elmbridge Borough Council. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Phil Sandilands for his professional advice with our grant application.
Additionally we are currently preparing a funding application with the RFU for an irrigation project for the Fairmile land and also the Memorial ground, which if successful will be implemented over the next few months. We are also applying to the Rugby Football Foundation for a smaller grant to update the Floodlights at the Fairmile. Surrey RFU and the RFU have been particularly supportive in terms of our growth plans and inviting us to apply for funding which has been most helpful.
So the CSA Strategy is
Stage 1 – A new Club House – Achieved
Stage 2 – Acquisition of additional land – Achieved
Stage 3 – Regeneration of land into playing fields – planned for 2012/13 season
Stage 4 – Improved quality of playing facilities at the Memorial ground – planned for 2013/2014
We have been talking to the Peter Marsh Trustees to get their views on an appropriate name for the new pitches, and we have decided that we will be asking the Mini and Youth members to come up with some ideas and the one chosen will get a “thank you” from the Braemar Club. More details later.
And finally, on behalf of the CSA and all the members of the sections I would like to acknowledge the significant financial support we have received from the Peter Marsh Estate over the last twelve months, and to also thank the Trustees, Stuart Davies, Roger King and Peter Newland for their on-going support. This has allowed us to continue to invest in all the major projects undertaken at the Memorial Ground to develop Rugby, Lacrosse, Tennis and Netball and to commit to the acquisition of the land at the Fairmile.
Whilst we have achieved an incredible amount over the last few years we still have quite a way to go, but I am confident that with everybody’s support and commitment we can achieve our vision of a five star club house and five star pitches by 2014.
With best wishes
Andy Harburn, Chairman Cobham Sports Association