New £1m sporting investment unveiled

SUFFOLK footballers were today celebrating as new £1million facilities were due to be officially opened.The massive investment at Gainsborough Sports Centre was funded by charity group The Football Foundation.

SUFFOLK footballers were today celebrating as new £1million facilities were due to be officially opened.

The massive investment at Gainsborough Sports Centre was funded by charity group The Football Foundation.

The money has allowed Ipswich Borough Council to undertake a massive redevelopment project at the centre, in Braziers Wood Road.

In addition to the existing ten senior and two junior pitches the grant has allowed the construction of two new adult pitches, a new artificial pitch and a new pavilion with male and female changing rooms.

The project aims to encourage more players from different backgrounds to come forward and start playing the game.

An emphasis will be placed on developing the womens' and girls' game and links will be formed with nearby schools and community groups. Everyone regardless of age, ability or ethnicity will have the same opportunities to play football.

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The building work on the changing rooms started in November 2002 and 30 teams first used the new facilities last month.

One of the sides based there praised the new changing rooms.

Andrew Green, secretary of Metaltec SIL Division Three side Ipswich Postals, said: "It looks a lot better now and all the players think it has improved.

"It has made that part of the town look nicer and it is money well spent.

"The old changing rooms we used were a bit cold and a bit dinghy and the improvements were needed.

"They weren't well locked up and we have had things stolen before but not anymore.

"At some places we play at, you change in old huts but the facilities are a lot better here."

John Mowles, sport and leisure spokesman from Ipswich Borough Council, said: "This is a great day for Ipswich and local footballers and we are grateful to the Football Foundation for the support they have given us.

"The council is committed to providing the very best in sports facilities."

Lord Pendry, president of the foundation, will open the project. He said: "This is an historic day for the communities that will benefit from these outstanding new facilities.

"I congratulate Ipswich Borough Council for securing this massive funding package and wish the project the very best of luck."

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