Durham Cricket’s plans to build new nursery facilities alongside its Emirates Riverside ground have taken a major step forward thanks to a five-figure grant from a regional employer.
The club is building the new playing area on land behind the County Durham stand, with a view to maximising participation opportunities for local people of all ages and abilities, and providing high quality practice facilities for its male and female junior age group teams.
The Durham Cricket Foundation, Durham Cricket’s charitable arm, has now won a £25,000 grant from The Banks Group’s Banks Community Fund to deliver the next two stages of the project, which will cost around £200,000 to complete.
A dedicated water supply has now been laid to the nursery ground site to ensure the water needed to grow grass across the new square and pitch is easily available.
A range of equipment specifically for use at the nursery ground, including a mower, cutter, roller and covers, is also being funded by the grant.
The nursery ground facility, which is on track to be ready for use by April next year, will be the first of its kind in the North East and will be available for use by people from all areas of County Durham.
The Banks Group is already a longstanding supporter of both professional and amateur cricket around its home region, sponsoring Durham Cricket’s Royal London One Day Cup team, Durham Cricket’s youth development squads, seven cup competitions run across the region by the North East Premier League and Northumberland County Cricket Club.
Josie Pointon, manager at the Durham Cricket Foundation, said: “Our aim is to provide as many participation opportunities for as many different parts of the local community as possible, and the new nursery ground will have a transformative effect on the work that we can do.
“Having a dedicated water supply in place is an essential part of preparing the ground, while giving our grounds staff the equipment they need to get everything ready without delay will help us stick to our development timetable.
“The Club and Foundation shares a common ethos with The Banks Group of giving back to the community in which we’re based and the company’s generous contribution is crucial for the development.”
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, adds: “Durham Cricket’s vision for maximising community participation and encouraging excellence right across the county is one that we’re very proud to be supporting.
“The nursery ground is the latest chapter in the development of world class cricketing facilities in our home county and we’re very much looking forward to seeing it in use next season.”