The opening of a £6m community sports hub in Wootton Bassett has been described as the fulfillment of a "10-year journey"
The Gerard Buxton Sports Hub, owned by the Royal Wootton Bassett Sports Association (RWBSA), will be the new home of Wootton Bassett Town Football Club (WBTFC) - which currently plays at the ninth level of the English football league system - and a number of community sports clubs.
Facilities include a full-size 3G artificial football pitch and eight floodlit tennis courts - installed by O'Brien Contractors - as well as four real grass football pitches, two cricket pitches and a new changing room pavilion.
RWBSA chair Peter Yeardley said: "This journey started more than 10 years ago, at a time when demand for sports facilities could not be met by the original grounds bequeathed to the town in the 1930s by Major Gerard Buxton.
"To see sporting activity on the new site is simply fantastic and we are proud to continue the legacy of Major Buxton."
The hub was funded in part by a £500,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund - delivered by the Football Foundation - and £100,000 from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF).
Additional funding was received from Sport England, the England and Wales Cricket Board, Wiltshire Council Area Board and Landfill Tax funds from local operators Crapper & Sons, Hills, and Viridor.
"Local sponsors have also contributed to the costs", added Yeardley, "which shows just how important these facilities are to the town."
"We want the new ground to be a community hub for local sports, and particularly for young people to be engaged. All our clubs have very active youth sections, and there is a lot of focus on building a connection to sport which will last a lifetime."
WBTFC currently runs 23 senior, youth and womens' teams and will use Gerard Buxton Sports Hub for both training and competitive matches.
Previously, over 75 per cent of the clubs teams were forced to play fixtures away from their home ground due to a lack of pitch capacity.
The sport hub will also allow all of RWBSA's cricket, tennis and running clubs to broaden opportunities for the local community to engage in sport on a regular basis.
For the original article, visit www.sportsmanagement.co.uk.