Work has started to build new football pitches and a sports pavilion in Exmouth, funded by a retirement homes developer investing more than £1.58million in the town.
Exmouth Town Football Club said the investment will put the town ‘on the footballing map’.
Developer Blue Cedar Homes aims to boost facilities for the youth teams, building a new club house and three football pitches for a range of players to train, compete, and ‘achieve their full potential’.
The purpose-built sports pavilion and three new football pitches – expected to be ready early next year – have been designed by the developer, in consultation with Exmouth Town FC.
The investment forms part of the developer’s compulsory community contributions for its nearby retirement homes complex.
Nick James, Director of Youth Football at Exmouth Town Football Club, said: “We are really proud as a club to be doing this and thrilled about the opportunities it offers the club and the future of our youth section.
“There is a well-known shortage of quality sports pitches in the local area and it’s really not every day that this sort of opportunity happens so it is not lost on us how special this is and what it means.”
He added: “To have an almost professional facility to use can only enhance our appeal and our reputation as a club, everyone of all ages are very excited about it.”
Mr James said the club was grateful to the developer for its investment. He said: “They are set to deliver us a fantastic facility, that will be second to none in the area. We’ll have a facility to match our ambitions as a club.
“We’re hoping that the facility will be used by local schools and we can host teams from all over the country in the coming years. We’ve already welcomed a number of teams from Wales and the Bristol area but with a facility like this we can host more and really put Exmouth on the footballing map.
“Sport has a fantastic way of bringing people together and this facility will really showcase Exmouth in a really positive light.”
The football club dates back to 1933, and currently operates from Warren View playing pitches, in Southern Road – a district council site since 1964.
The new pavilion and pitches, the off Maer Road car park, will become the club’s new youth headquarters and clubhouse.
Lauren England-Shepard, the developer’s sales and marketing manager, said: “We appreciate that it is very important to support and give back to the local communities that we build in and are delighted, and excited, to be bringing forward these new facilities for the club and the town.”
The developer’s 1.68 million community investment in Exmouth includes £1.58million dedicated to the new football pitch and pavilion for Exmouth Town Football Club.
The other contributions include £82,000 towards open spaces and playing pitches, plus £17,227 for improving local biodiversity with a habitat contribution.