Norwich City Community Sports Foundation (CSF) has today unveiled the first phase of its new multi-purpose community hub in Horsford – The Nest.
The £1.5m project has seen new life breathed into a disused sports facility on the edge of the city, with the existing clubhouse and changing rooms renovated and seven grass football pitches relayed. It also includes catering and accommodation facilities, as well as office and meeting space.
Canaries first team player Louis Thompson and CSF trustee Jake Humphrey were among the 150 guests that visited The Nest to mark the official opening.
Louis said: “I think it is a very impressive facility. It’s nice to have this for the children and it bridges that gap between grassroots football and professional football. To have a facility like this that replicates what you get at Colney [Training Centre] is a nice environment for the kids to learn in.”
The first phase of the project was made possible thanks to a £495,000 grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund and CSF worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Norfolk County FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.
A huge range of local people will use the current phase of the site, including grassroots football teams and CSF-run projects for disadvantaged and disabled people.
Recent weeks have seen the first participants use The Nest with over 2,000 people already enjoying the pitches and clubhouse, including young footballers during a special Grant Holt Soccer School.
After a tour of The Nest’s facilities, guests were given a presentation by Jake and Jackie Thornton, head of development at CSF, who spoke about plans for a second phase of development and the need for financial support from potential funders and fundraisers.
Jackie said: “We’ve taken a disused sports facility and breathed new life into it, creating a hub that will be of great value to the community.
“We’re hugely grateful for the support of the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, which has played a significant part in bringing this phase of the project to life.
“Now, the emphasis is really on our work to secure the funds for the second phase of The Nest, which will help the Foundation reach an extra 12,000 people a year, when completed.”
The second phase of the project will include a floodlit 3G pitch, a gym, and classroom facilities and would see the Foundation reach an additional 12,000 people every year. CSF needs to raise a further £9.4m to complete the work.
For more information about the plans for phase two and to find out how you can help the campaign, click here.