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Friday, July 27, 2018

UITC Look To Refurbish Central Park Facility

Aspire Footballers With UITC Coach Laura Davies
United in the Community (UITC) are looking to refurbish their Central Park facility but how much they can achieve will depend on whether they can raise enough funds. 

That's the message that came out of a press briefing earlier today.

Initially they are hoping to upgrade their clubhouse, provide an extra pitch, create a pedestrian access from Aylestone Park and improve the existing parking area.

In the medium term there is the hope they can install floodlights at the ground.

And they are talking to Hereford Council about land adjoining Central Park which if progressed could see several more pitches perhaps including an all-weather pitch. 

Trustee Russell Cheasley said that UITC wanted to cement its place in the community especially since Hereford FC have taken back the Academy.

"The principle objective in our plan is to cement ourselves at Central Park," said Cheasley.

"It's a wonderful facility which can offer a lot more.

"We have a cracking clubhouse but it does need some work on it. That's the main purpose of our first phase.

"We want to do a lot more here. We are talking to a potential partner at the moment for future development."

UITC have a lease on Central Park for 25 years at a 'very reasonable rent' but parking in particular does present a problem.

"We are in discussion about an access agreement so we can open an pedestrian access from Aylestone Park. Then we can use the parking here for players, officials and dignitaries who come to use the facilities. Everybody else would be able to access from the parking at Alyestone Park."

What about floodlights?

"It would be nice to get floodlights but we've got to go through the planning applications on that.

"We would also like to get a 3G pitch here to help with sustainability in the future.

"The pitch is our main income but we are hoping to expand ourselves into the community."

Will Hereford FC youngsters be playing at Central Park this season?

"We don't know at present. They were training here both last night and Tuesday. We've got two friendly games booked here at the weekend."

Where will the finance for improvements come from?

"We've got Section 106 money. As part of any planning process for major developments in the area there is money set aside called section 106 funding. And that is based on what the community's needs are.

"The Council seem to think there are various pots we can draw from. Because we already have the 106 money it would be match funding. 

"We think we can raise a fair amount towards what we want for the first phase. We are talking around £20,000."

Who is using the main pitch?

"The Civil Service premier side will be playing here every other Saturday. The Pheonix junior side are looking to play from here as well. Then we have the Hereford FC academy who have expressed an interest in playing games from here.

"If the weather is good the income would be substantial. It will help deliver other things.

"But we do rely on sponsorship and people being kind with donations.

"We've been in touch with Cargill but they've changed names to Avara so they are a new company. We are in the process of discussing our future with them.

"And there's Aspire, a local charity who deal with people with learning disabilities. We provide training sessions and football for their team Aspire FC. Aspire pay us but they get grant aid from the Mayor's fund and other sources."

Finally what's the relationship between HUST (Hereford United Supporters Trust) and UITC?

"HUST's aims are based around the community, all of the community. HUST have not financially helped UITC in the past. We've helped each other with manpower at events. We promote each others events."

As well as a trustee of UITC, Cheasley is on the HUST board.

"A decision was taken over a year ago that we forged closer links with UITC and then it was proposed that as I was involved with the community for HUST  I would become a trustee of UITC."