Barnham gets in the game zone

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A new Barnham games zone is nearing completion, thanks to a £74,000 cash boost.

Grants from the SITA Trust and RDPE Leader Fund have aided work on the village’s new all-weather multi-use games area.

With construction of the zone set for completion by the end of the month, local residents are already eagerly looking forward to using the £80,000 all-weather sports facility.

The zone has been made possible following generous grants awarded to Barnham Leisure and Amenities Development Enterprise (BLADE), the charitable fundraising organisation attached to Barnham Parish Council.

BLADE chairman Terry Bedford said: “Barnham has lacked decent sports and recreation facilities for years.

“Opening our new game zone will add an inspiring and much-needed new facility for our village.

“And once the game zone is completed, it will mark the end of phase two of our ambitious plans to create a range of new community facilities in the village.”

In June, environmental funder SITA Trust awarded a £50,000 grant, and in August £24,000 was awarded by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) through their West Sussex Three Harbours and Coastal Plain Leader programme. Additional cash has also been generated through the efforts of local residents.

“The play area and Trim Trail which opened last year are already very popular with local people and we expect the new Barnham game zone to be similarly well received.

“We really are hugely grateful to SITA Trust and RDPE Leader for their generous grants.”

Located within Barnham Community Park at Murrells Field, the new zone will complement the trail constructed and opened last year. The new hard-surfaced multi-use games area will be useable for tennis, basketball, netball and five-a-side football, and will offer local residents, young and old, new facilities for enjoying sports all year round.

In making the £50,000 award, Jools Granville from the SITA Trust said: “We were very impressed with the level of local support for this project and hope the people of Barnham enjoy this new facility for years to come.”

The development of the community park has guaranteed the future of Murrells Field as public open space, and once the zone is completed it is expected phase three – the construction of the new Barnham village hall and community centre – will follow.

Barnham Parish Council chairman David Phillips said: “Planning consent, full architects’ plans, and our route to funding this are all in place.

“We are now seeking to appoint a developer to undertake construction. When completed, we will have fulfilled our vision is to develop a range of modern new recreational facilities, catering for the whole villagewith a new community hall as the focal point”.

The game zone is expected to be formally opened on November 5.