People in Diss are being urged to get behind a multi-million-pound bid by the town’s high school for a new sports block.

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Diss High has until January to submit an application for £3.5m and it hopes as many people as possible will write letters of support to boost the bid.

If granted by the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund, the money would be spent on a sports hall and artificial-surface pitch to extend its sports offering.

Head of physical education James Kemp said pupils were currently restricted in the sports they could play.

He added that any new facilities would also be open to the wider community.

“The Academies Capital Maintenance Fund is inviting bids of up to £4m and it’s a case of proving the need for the facility,” he said. “We’re a school of 1,200 pupils with two very small gyms, which are run-down.

“They were built in the 1950s and they’re really the only two indoor areas we have, apart from an indoor swimming pool.

“If this was successful it would enable us to offer new sports like basketball and volleyball. We could also offer athletics activities like long jump and high jump to the community.

“The bid window is very small, so we’re really trying to push this and the kids have drawn up flyers and done a Facebook page and we want to try to raise awareness and get letters of support.”

If successful, the new facilities could include a two-storey sports hall with a reception area, changing rooms, a classroom and a gym, artificial-surface pitch, long jump and high jump and conversion of one of the current gyms into a new classroom.

Mr Kemp added that, at the moment, many youngsters were forced to travel to Norwich to take part in team sports, and that an artificial-surface pitch would help the girls’ hockey teams.

The school would also be able to accommodate new equipment from the Spring Gymnastics Community Club which is based in its gym.

“The kids are keen as mustard because there’s no real high-quality facility at the moment,” Mr Kemp added.

“We had 10 kids last year who wanted to play basketball, but they’ve had to stop because they have to travel to Norwich. They also want to play football and there is an offering, but there’s no room to expand because they would have to travel to play.

“With cricket, the clubs are there, but they’re all crammed into village halls and gyms.

“The school is still growing and the feeder schools are fit to burst, so £3m would make such a difference to us and the community.”

Visit the school website at www.disshigh.norfolk.sch.uk for more information and details of how to register your support.

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