State of the art sports hub officially opened in Melksham

Melksham's new £7.3m state-of-the-art grassroots sports hub was officially opened on Monday by representatives of Wiltshire Council, Melksham FC and Melksham RFC.

Now called Oakfields, it includes a 1,773 sq m sports centre which holds separate facilities for each club, including 16 football and rugby pitches that accommodate both junior and senior competition, along with a new car park and access road.

The project received grants from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, and the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) the largest funders of non-league football in the country.

Wiltshire Council worked alongside the Football Foundation and Wiltshire FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan a long-term vision of how sport will be played on-site.   As part of this plan, 14-25 participation is projected to rise by 70%, while the venue will also hold CPD programmes for coaches and referees.

Dave Wiltshire, Chairman of Melksham Town FC, said: "This brilliant facility will enhance the work we are already doing to make this a superb community football club. We already have nearly 600 players signed up, so we really need this. I'm amazed by how it looks and it's great to see it fully used.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: "I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Wiltshire Council to build a fantastic new sports hub.  This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.  "Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.4bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.  "With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This project in Melksham is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it, and to stay healthy."