All the hard work of volunteers at Wisbech Cricket and Hockey Club has now resulted in the first bid for funding to be submitted to build a new clubhouse at Harecroft Road. The Sport England Inspired Facilities funding bid is the first of many, to various sporting bodies, organisations and charities, as part of raising the half million pounds needed for the new clubhouse.
I have spoken before about the need for new facilities down at the Harecroft Road site and now plans for a new clubhouse and astroturf pitch are beginning to move forward. The Club plays a high standard of sport but the old wooden clubhouse has not been updated since 1963. A separate but closely linked bid which is also being worked on is for a new astroturf pitch for hockey, as the existing pitch is not fit for purpose and needs re-surfacing.
On Friday there will be a meeting at Wisbech Cricket and Hockey Club of key stakeholders which I will be attended with representatives of both the ECB and England Hockey. During this meeting, the club will explain in detail the plans they have for improvement of facilities down at Harecroft Road and discuss how we build a strong local base of support to move this scheme forward.
I also attended last night a meeting with the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch and Transport Minister Robert Goodwill to discuss the new sports strategy launched by the Government, attended by around 50 representatives of major national sports bodies. Key points include an increased focus on measuring participation from age 5 onwards rather than for over 14 years, so it builds a love of sport at a younger age. There is also much more focus on the social good of sport, in particular bringing in disability groups or older people to be involved in sport.
A further issue which I hope the local press, councillors, and residents will raise is what is the Clinical Commissioning Group doing through the health budget to promote sport in Fenland? The Sports Minister particularly mentioned schemes in Norfolk, but there is currently little visibility of what the Cambridgeshire CCG is doing to promote sport. I will raise this Maureen Donnelly as Chair of the CCG at my meeting with her at the House of Commons on Thursday, along with questioning what has happened on the contract with Uniting Care over which there are serious questions to answer.