If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Games area to be built by end of April
A £100,000 multi-use games area (MUGA) for Verwood is on target to be completed by the end of April.
The ambitious project, which will see small and large football goals and netball nets on a 20m by 38m patch of ground near the town’s Memorial Hall, has been hit by numerous stumbling blocks after first being envisaged in 2005. But after a separate committee was formed in 2009, called Active Games For All (AGFA), and the town council offered to match fund up to £50,000, the project started to mushroom, and now members are just waiting for the final grant to roll in.
AGFA chairman Angela Daymond said: “It is really exciting. I never imagined we would get so far so fast.
“Now all we are waiting for is for Veolia’s grants committee to meet and make the final decision on our grant,and we can instruct the company installing it to make a start.
“It’s important to me that it’s opened during Simon Gibson’s time as mayor, as he was one of the original AGFA committee members and it would be great if he could open it.”
AGFA faced a series of delays in getting planning permission, after at first being told the MUGA was permitted development and so didn’t need planning permission.
Months later they were informed that in fact permission would be needed for the enclosure around the area, and fundraising had to be suspended.
Another stumbling block came when applying for grants, because the committee did not own the land.
But Verwood Town Council trustees, who maintain the land, agreed to work with AGFA to sort out these problems, and fortunes started to improve once the town council pledged its support.
Further good news came when the committee secured £16,000 from Synergy Housing Group.
The MUGA will be in the north west corner of the Memorial Recreation Ground, a boggy patch of ground that is under-used at the moment.
But the plans will need to involve sufficient drainage to be able to surface the area.
All hands have been to the pump raising the cash needed. Most recently Verwood Rotary gave the project £1,000 and Verwood Pantomime Society is supporting AGFA with after-show collections. The town’s annual Talented Youth concert on March 2 will also be raising money towards the project.