A COMMUNITY’S sports facilities are getting a much-needed upgrade, providing a place for residents to enjoy a range of activities and safeguarding the site’s future.

Coxhoe Cricket Club has existed for 150 years but with no team playing for about six years, its ground had become overgrown and the pavilion derelict.

Coxhoe Parish Council took on a ten-year lease of the land and has secured £26,600 to bring it back into use as a multisport facility.

The Northern Echo:

The project will include football fields, the replacement of an artificial cricket wicket and the pavilion will be renovated with a new roof, glazing, a social room and changing facilities.

Work is now underway and Coxhoe Parish Council chairman Stuart Dunn believes it will become a popular facility and protect the village from development.

The Northern Echo:

He said: “We have 12 Coxhoe United football teams but lots cannot even train in the village, which puts a lot of pressure on parents to transport them to places like West Cornforth, Sedgefield, Peterlee. Some of the younger ones can play here, freeing up the main football field.

“We had a teenager wanting to play baseball and it would be really great to have cricket played in the village again because it has such as proud history of the game.

“This will double the playing space in Coxhoe and be a valuable sports facility for the whole community.”

The parish council is especially keen to save the land for the community, to prevent development on its open spaces.

Cllr Dunn said: “In 2017 we did a neighbourhood plan and 90 per cent said they wanted to keep Coxhoe as a village rather than merging with Bowburn and Parkhill so we need to keep our green spaces, that’s an added benefit of the sports project.”

To fund the work, the parish council gained grants from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation, County Durham Community Foundation and East Durham Rural Corridor Area Action Partnership.

The Football Foundation is the UK’s largest sports charity and exists to improve the experience of playing football for everyone, by championing fair access to quality facilities.

Robert Sullivan, Interim Chief Executive of the Football Foundation charity, said: “We know the huge benefits playing regular football can have on individuals’ physical and mental well-being.

“That’s why we’re committed to transforming the face of grassroots football facilities in this country. “It’s therefore very welcome news to hear that this funding will support in redeveloping the facility for their local community.

“Working with our partners – the Premier League, The FA, government and Sport England – we will be investing in over £1bn worth of local facilities across the country over the next decade. We believe we can transform lives and strengthen communities by unlocking the power of pitches and this is another project that brings us closer to that ultimate goal.”