FITC extend community reach as they take lease on Shrub End facility.
A partnership agreement between Colchester United Football in the Community and Colchester Borough Council has secured future public and community use of Shrub End Sports Ground all-weather football pitch and pavilion.
Colchester United FC Football in the Community has signed a 13-year lease for the floodlight all-weather pitch, securing its long term future, and has substantial investment plans to improve the facilities on site.
The existing full size, floodlit, all-weather pitch was first built in 2006 and is in need of an overhaul. The playing surface is badly worn and needs bringing up to modern day standards.
Colchester Borough Council will replace the existing artificial surface with a new high-quality all-weather pitch which can be used for a range of different sports and will meet the Football Association (FA) standard, which allows competitive matches to be played on it.
Works are scheduled to take place ahead of the new 2015/16 football season.
Colchester United's community scheme will continue to carry out their work with schools, sports clubs and community groups at the Shrub End facility and their Development Centre and Academy teams will be given coaching time on the all-weather pitch.
The use of Shrub End Sports Ground will also allow the U's community programme to expand the breadth of its work into new areas in the year to come.
Corin Haines, Community Manager, said: "This is an excellent chance to develop a facility that has real potential to bring genuine sporting and wellbeing benefits to the town and across the local area.
"We are excited to take this opportunity forward and bring quality coaching provision and health benefits to people of all ages."
Tim Waddington, Colchester United Football in the Community trustee, added: "The Shrub End facility is at the heart of our historical fanbase, just yards from Layer Road and almost within sight of the statue of Peter Wright, one of the club’s most iconic players.
"It is a real chance to have a base on both sides of the town and to create a first class sporting hub for the town at Shrub End."
Cllr Annie Feltham, Portfolio Holder for Communities and Leisure, said: "The existing floodlit pitch has been in use for eight years, which is why the Council are investing in improving the facility to ensure the site is available for continued community use.
"There is a common commitment between Colchester United Football in the Community and the Council to improve the facilities for the local community.
"The end result will be high-quality facilities that improve the experience for those who already play football regularly, and we hope attract new local players to the game."
Colchester Borough Council will continue to maintain the other grass pitches and sports facilities at Shrub End Sports Ground. Barnardo's Children Centre will continue to be based in the pavilion.