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Sports Trust's £375k upgrade of Huntly all weather pitch ready to kick off


By Pat Scott

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Members of the Huntly Sports Trust, from the left, Chris Lee, Dave Liston, Bruce Murray, Ian Little and Allan Mitchell at the all-weather pitch which is to be overhauled. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Members of the Huntly Sports Trust, from the left, Chris Lee, Dave Liston, Bruce Murray, Ian Little and Allan Mitchell at the all-weather pitch which is to be overhauled. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

HUNTLY Sports Trust is set to kick off a massive upgrade project at the town's all weather pitch.

The playing surface at the 22 year old pitch has been in very poor condition for a number of years but now the volunteer group which looks after the facility has secured funding for it to be replaced.

Awards of £250,000 from Aberdeenshire Council and £100,000 from the Vattenfall Clashindarroch wind farm fund have been confirmed and the group is working to raise the additional £25,000 needed for the £375,000 project.

The pitch is sand based but over the years, despite regular brushing and maintenance, the sand has become compacted - rainwater gathers on it and there's a risk of serious injury if anyone falls.

The tender process is under way for the new 3G surface which will have a 20mm rubber shock pad and 60mm carpet with rubber crumb - approved by FIFA and World Rugby.

The project is expected to take 12 to 14 weeks to complete and could begin later this year.

The replacement surface will be the equivalent of a full size football pitch and the aim is to have a wide range of alternative uses for it from walking football to cricket and athletics - 60 metre sprint lanes will be included.

It will be available for school use during the day and comercial lets in evenings and weekends.

Members of the Huntly Sports Trust, from the left, Chris Lee, Dave Liston, Bruce Murray, Ian Little and Allan Mitchell at the all-weather pitch which is to be overhauled. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Members of the Huntly Sports Trust, from the left, Chris Lee, Dave Liston, Bruce Murray, Ian Little and Allan Mitchell at the all-weather pitch which is to be overhauled. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Preferential rates will be offered for local groups but with annual operating costs in the region of £30,000 generating income from usage will be vital.

The Trust expanded its membership late in 2020 bringing on board representatives from a wide range of sports clubs in Huntly who supported the aspiration to upgrade the facility.

Chris Lee, one of the board and development officer with Huntly Rugby Club was tasked with using the Covid enforced lay off from his sport to look at funding options.

Mr Lee said: "Everyone agreed that the location, surrounded by all the grassed pitches is the right place for an all weather surface. It's just a nice area to be in. The Trust has brought together people with a common purpose - to create a place for sport.

"We believe that by having a first class facility we can widen engagement in sport locally and attract groups from other areas."

Board member Dave Liston added: "We really want to open up the facility for as many uses as possible - Guide and Scout groups for outdoor sessions and free events for people to try out a sport. There's potential for sport to really take off on the new pitch."

Allan Mitchell, who has been a Trust member since the outset is delighted to see the replacement plan finally happening.

Another founding member Ian Little said: "It has been a hard slog to keep going but getting other people onto the board has made this possible. We want to make it as cheap as possible for Huntly area groups but it has to be financially viable and we need to be in a position to replace the surface in eight to ten years time."

Pete Kunz, Vattenfall’s service leader for Clashindarroch Wind Farm said: “Vattenfall proactively supports communities to maximise positive impacts provided by our wind farms.

“I am delighted to see the community fund at Clashindarroch playing such a major role in supporting the Huntly Sports Trust all-weather sports facility at the Meadows sports fields. This will enable the development of sports and physical exercise in the Huntly and District area and ensure access to sporting facilities for all.”


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