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Howzat! ‘Place for Sport’ funding hits the spot for cricket club

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A Swansea Valley cricket club has declared grant funding from Sport Wales as being crucial in giving their facilities a new lease of life.

Ynystawe Cricket Club, which is celebrating its centenary year, has been able to carry out a much-needed refurbishment of its indoor hall thanks to a £17,582 ‘Place for Sport’ grant.

The club has more than 200 players across all age groups who are enjoying training in the upgraded indoor nets facility, while the hall is also being offered free of charge to nearby primary schools to help entice even more youngsters to play the game.

Boy playing cricket
Place for Sport funding from Sport Wales has helped Ynystawe Cricket Club to refurbish their indoor hall.

The refurbishment cost a wee bit more than the 350 shillings that the club spent on acquiring its current home in Maes Yr Afon in 1953, but it’s all been well worth it. 

Club Chairman Phil Rowe said: “The poor state of our old flooring and nets posed a significant health and safety risk and meant that our teams were restricted in terms of how often they could train and what skills they could practice during those sessions. It became a facility that other sports clubs didn’t want to use. To be able to make these upgrades has been amazing for our club and has given local sports clubs an affordable venue to train at. Raising the required funds to refurbish the hall was a long-term ambition, but the Place for Sport grant was a lifeline.

“We now have a vibrant facility in which our players and coaches can thrive, as well as a welcoming environment for new players, families and the wider community.”

People outside a cricket club
The upgraded facility was officially opened by Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.

By hiring out their hall, so far, to three local football clubs, five cricket clubs, and hosting boxercise classes three times a week, Ynystawe Cricket Club already has a sustainable plan in place to generate the funds they’ll need to replace the flooring again in 20 years’ time.  It is the club’s aim to continue promoting the facility to local community groups, targeting families and older adults.  

Visiting the facility to officially open it, Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “Having access to high quality sports facilities is a must if we want to make Wales a more active nation, so it’s wonderful to see how much of a positive difference the new facilities are having at Ynystawe Cricket Club. This is exactly what we envisioned when we launched the Place for Sport fund last year.” 

In 2019, Welsh Government allocated a £5m ‘Place for Sport’ fund to Sport Wales to award grants that could improve, protect or create new sports facilities in Wales. As well as the upgrades at Ynystawe Cricket Club, the money helped to fund more than 150 projects that benefited 28 different sports. Projects ranged from new cycle tracks to changing room renovations, new artificial pitches, floodlight installations, table tennis training robots and everything in between.

Children practicing cricket
Pupils from the nearby YGG Lon Las and YGG Pontardawe using Ynystawe Cricket Club’s refurbished facilities in a coaching session provided by Cricket Wales.

Due to the huge appetite shown for further improvements across Wales, the Welsh Government will allocate £3m in capital funding to Sport Wales during the 2020-21 financial year to be used on Place for Sport projects. Of that £3m, Sport Wales is putting aside £1m to be invested into more artificial pitches, while £2m will be available in an open public fund; £1m more than last year. 

Full details explaining how sports clubs and organisations can apply for a share of the funding will be announced soon.

Sport Wales will continue to work with Welsh Government to maximise opportunities for improving, protecting and creating new sports facilities across Wales and securing funding to support these long term ambitions.

Find out about the full range of grants that are available to help sports clubs and organisations get people more active, more often.

People in Ynystawe cricket club
Ospreys star Keelan Giles winged in to attend the official opening too. Ynystawe Cricket Club are keen to become a multi-sports hub, and already hire out their facilities for other local sports clubs to use.

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