A new 50 year lease for the Maurice Thornton playing field could mean future funding prospects for a junior football club.
Following months of campaigning, Wealden District Council has agreed to offer Hailsham Town Council a lease extension to secure the future of Maurice Thornton playing field.
Hailsham United Junior Football Club is a grassroots community football club offering organised football to boys and girls aged 5-16. The Club trains at Maurice Thornton Playing Field, which is owned by Wealden District Council and leased to Hailsham Town Council. Securing an extension to the lease is fundamental to ensuring that the Club can establish a permanent base at Maurice Thornton Playing Field and that the site can be eligible for funding from the Football Association and Sport England, so that improvements can be made to the facilities to ensure match-ready standard.
In support of the campaign, Wealden MP Nusrat Ghani helped convene meetings with the Chairman of Hailsham United Junior Football Club Rick De Sousa and Steve Wennington of Hailsham Active while Councillors Gerard Fox and Bob Bowdler helped to explore an optimal solution between Wealden District Council and Hailsham Active.
Following these meetings, Leader of Wealden District Council Bob Standley agreed to extend the current lease for up to 50 years, securing the ground for recreational use for many years to come.
Nusrat Ghani said: “Wealden’s grassroots football clubs are at the heart of Wealden sport and play a key role in local communities. I’m pleased to have secured meetings with all parties involved to discuss the case and as a result, Wealden District Council has agreed to extend the lease.
She added: “This will be of great benefit to Hailsham communities who use this open space, and especially to Hailsham United JFC who can now establish a permanent base at Maurice Thornton Playing Field and secure funds for improvements. Last year, I secured grants worth £24,500 to Wealden Clubs from the Football Foundation and I will continue to campaign for improvements to Wealden sports facilities.”
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