Leicestershire club AFC Barwell are looking forward to brand new football facilities following the award of a massive grant from the Football Foundation.
The £463,282 funding boost will allow the club - whose website is powered by Club Website - to build a new sports pavilion and a drainage system at their Dovecote Way home.
The pavilion will comprise four changing rooms, officials’ changing rooms, a community room and car parking for 40 vehicles.
The club's current pavilion, which dates back to the early 1960s, is no longer suitable for the volume of users it regularly serves, whilst poor drainage has put paid to a number of winter fixtures in recent seasons due to waterlogged pitches.
The new facility is expected to entertain over 450 weekly users for football alone, with the site also being used for archery and rounders.
The news marks a significant boost to grassroots sport in the area, following a successful joint application lodged by Barwell Parish Council and AFC Barwell, in partnership with the Leicestershire County FA.
"It's absolutely brilliant for the whole community," AFC Barwell Chairman Steven Purkiss told Club Website.
"Barwell Parish Council have been very proactive for us and if it really wasn't for them we'd still have a ramshackle breeze-block pavilion and be struggling with pitches."
The new facilities will help the club - formed in 2010 by the merger of Barwell Minis and Barwell Juniors - to increase their already-impressive quota of 20 teams and continue a longstanding history of grassroots football development.
"It's going to help us grow," said Purkiss. "We've got an under 17s team now which we haven't had for about five or six years, so we want them to carry on. We want a youth team and we want to get a senior team and just grow as best we can."The presentation of one huge cheque was celebrated by the making of another, although it wouldn't have been much use at the bank.
The club and parish members enjoyed a giant cake in the design of a Football Foundation cheque, made especially for the occasion.
The celebration marked the culmination of years of hard work by the club, according to the Chairman.
"We've been trying to do this for the past five to seven years, so I'd like to say a big thank you to all the members of the football club, past and present, over this time. Their efforts shouldn't be forgotten," Purkiss added.
"Hopefully we can grow and in another 10 years time we can get another grant and use that for something even bigger!"
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I commend Barwell Parish Council, AFC Barwell and the Leicestershire FA for working tirelessly to secure this funding and I look forward to seeing the end result in the near future.
“This year is an exciting time for sport in this country and a tremendous opportunity to create a grassroots legacy. The hosting of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will inspire generations of people up and down the country to reap the rewards that sport has to offer.
"The Football Foundation is dedicated, with funding provided from the Premier League, The FA and government, to raising the standard of grassroots community sports facilities and to getting more people actively playing the national sport.”
The country’s largest sports charity, the Football Foundation has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport since it was launched in 2000. It has used this investment to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.
To find out more about the Football Foundation, including details of how to apply for a grant for you club, visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk.
Visit AFC Barwell's website at www.clubwebsite.co.uk/afcbarwell.