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Cash boost allows Lakenheath to replace pitch maintenance equipment




Lakenheath have received an £18,396 grant towards replacing pitch maintenance equipment, writes Nick Garnham.

The Football Foundation grant will go towards the overall project cost of £26,280 at the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North club.

The remainder of the money came via a £750 grant from local councillors, £3,000 from the Christian Enterprise Foundation in Lakenheath and £4,000 raised through club funds.

22/02/2020, Lakenheath, England. ..Football action from Lakenheath v Debenham LC - Goalmouth action..Photo by Mark Bullimore. (37767088)
22/02/2020, Lakenheath, England. ..Football action from Lakenheath v Debenham LC - Goalmouth action..Photo by Mark Bullimore. (37767088)

The money was accessed via the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, which is the same fund that Bury Town received £56,386 from in April towards replacing a stand and their floodlights.

Lakenheath manager Ben Cowling, who handled the application, said the money was being used to purchase a new tractor, roller mower and combination tool.

He said that the club, who are members of the Suffolk FA Pitch Improvement Programme, were aware their equipment needed replacing.

“Our tractor is over 50 years old and is an agricultural tractor, rather than a sports field tractor, and it was just not viable in any shape or form to do the job required anymore,” he said.

“The new equipment will not only mean we have a better surface to play on, it should mean we have to postpone less games as there were times last season when under-18 matches were called off as we couldn’t get the tractor on the pitch.

“It should also increase participation as we are hoping it will enable us to get another team on the pitch, either a ladies’ or under-16 side, from the 2021-22 season.

“This is a real boon for the club and will help us to progress in the future.”

Suffolk clubs with teams outside the National League System have also recently benefited from smaller grants from the Football Foundation’s Single Fund as follows: Beccles Town Youth FC towards boundary fencing and rabbit fencing, Haverhill Rovers FC towards Grow the Game (U8 female and adult disability), Maritime FC towards storage facilities and towards portable floodlights, East Bergholt United Junior & Women’s FC towards goalposts, Elmswell Youth FC towards goalposts, Leiston FC towards goalposts, Kessingland FC towards goalposts , Somersham FC towards goalposts

This brings the grant amount from the Football Foundation since football was suspended due to Covid-19 in mid-March to just over £300,000 in Suffolk with the total project costs of £436,000.

This is in addition to the £144,000 that Suffolk clubs received via the Pitch Preparation Fund.