⚽ Securing funding for Wealden Clubs
The non-League football structure across England plays a key role in local communities and is often a starting point for many talented footballers. Grassroots football is at the heart of Wealden sport and I will continue to campaign for improvements to their facilities.
🎉 RESULT FOR Hailsham United JFC
In spring 2021, I met with the Chairman of Hailsham United Junior Football Club to support the campaign to improve their facilities and establish a permanent base at Maurice Thornton Playing Field. I helped convene meetings between representatives of Hailsham United Junior Football Club, Hailsham Active, Wealden District Council and local conservative councillors. I'm pleased that following months of campaigning, Wealden District Council has agreed to offer Hailsham Town Council a lease extension for up to 50 years, securing the ground for recreational use for many years to come.
After raising the issue of lack of investment in local football clubs with the Premier League, I am pleased to have secured various grants:
- In June 2020, seven grants worth £14,500 in total have been awarded through the Pitch Preparation Club to: Alderbrook playing field, Crowborough; Fords Green, Nutley; Forest Row sports ground; Hadlow Down MW cricket club; Hailsham Town FC; Lime Kiln playing field, Crowborough and The Oaks, Uckfield.
- In October 2021, £10,000 worth of investment was shared between Crowborough Athletic FC, Hailsham Town FC and AFC Uckfield Town through the Premier League's Matchday Support Fund.
I have also successfully supported Crowborough Athletic FC and Hailsham Town FC with their fundraisers to further improve facilities and I supported Buxted FC to support their Chairman’s plea for new defibrillator, after their kit was vandalised in 2021.
Advocating for sports clubs and facilities during Covid-19 pandemic
- I joined with likeminded MPs to campaign Ministers on behalf of local football clubs, calling for an urgent return of fans to their stadiums.
- I raised the concerns of Wealden’s residents and businesses with the Minister at a Westminster Hall debate on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on gyms and outdoor sports.
- I have successfully secured funding totalling £237,956 for Bowles Rocks outdoor education centre as part of the Government’s £750 million support package.
🐎 Supporting Wealden Polo
Polo has a long tradition in British sport and I'm proud to have been re-elected as Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Polo in April 2021.
Polo grounds are important local employers presenting a cascade of full- and part-time work opportunities and the sport injects huge amounts of capital into the UK economy, attracting sponsorship from many industries and audiences and players from across the world. I am proud that Wealden is the home to the only fully HPA affiliated club to have both summer and winter polo facilities in the wider area of Sussex. Oakwood Park is an incredible facility and offers a wide range of activities for everyone to learn or master polo and enjoy the game.