Sports village facilities extend as footballer opens pitch and pavilion
A £1.5 million sports development on the edge of Thirsk has been officially opened by one of the town’s talented young footballers.
Midfielder Alfie McCalmont took time out from training with his team-mates at Carlisle United to cut the ribbon at the official opening of a new 3G pitch and pavilion at the Sowerby Sports Village.
The project was delivered thanks to a £527,000 grant from the Premier League, the FA and the Government’s Football Foundation, as well as developer contributions.
The facility’s partner club, Thirsk Falcons, which Alfie played for as a youngster, will be using the new ground for training and matches on a daily basis. It currently has 22 teams – with 255 junior players and 45 members of the senior squads. The new development will also be used by Thirsk School and Sixth Form College, Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers, and community groups, including inclusive sport groups.
Our executive member for leisure, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “These new football facilities are the cornerstone of the Sports Village development and will provide high-quality facilities for the community to enjoy for many years to come.
“They also offer greater opportunities for increased participation in sport by women and girls, people with disabilities and older people, which is an important focus of our council’s work.
“It’s great to think that our young people will have access to this excellent facility and hopefully it will produce many more Alfie’s who we will also watch playing league football.”
Former Thirsk Falcons player Alfie, 23, said he hoped the new facilities would see more young people from the district following their dreams to play league football.
He said: “This is a great facility, much better than the one I started playing on at the age of six. I feel very privileged to have been asked to cut the ribbon on it – and look forward to watching my mates who still play for Thirsk Falcons playing matches here.”
The chief executive of the Football Foundation, Robert Sullivan, said: “The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners – the Premier League, the FA and the Government – to transform the quality of grassroots facilities in England by delivering projects like this across the country.
“Good quality playing facilities have a transformative impact on physical and mental health and play an important role in bringing people together and strengthening local communities.
“We’re delighted that the local community in Thirsk will now be able to enjoy all these benefits thanks to the new facilities at Sowerby Sports Village.”
The Sowerby Sports Village is part of the wider masterplan for the Sowerby Gateway development which includes 1,000 new homes, Extra Care housing, a new primary school and employment and retail units.