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Failed funding bid forces charity to scale back sports hub project by £5.5m

The opening of phase one of The Nest in Horsford. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The opening of phase one of The Nest in Horsford. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

The charity behind a new community sports hub in Horsford has been forced to scale back its project by £5.5m due to an unsuccessful funding bid.

Opening of phase one of The Nest.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYOpening of phase one of The Nest. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich City Community Sports Foundation (CSF) had planned to spend £9.4m on a new gym, 3G football pitch, cafe, sports hall and IT suite at The Nest site on Holt Road.

But the charity has had to revisit its plans after losing out on £3.2m worth of funding from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) last month.

While the bulk of the proposed facilities at the site will no longer be built this year, it is hoped they will be delivered at a later date.

The revised budget for phase two is now £3.9m, but the charity said there is still a funding shortfall of £1m.

The Bunk Boxes accomodation for visitors to the Nest, which were built last year. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Bunk Boxes accomodation for visitors to the Nest, which were built last year. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jackie Thornton, CSF’s head of development, said: “We were deeply disappointed because it is something we have worked on for many years to try to secure.

“But it is now about showing resilience and trying to move forward [with the project].”

Work on The Nest, which is named after Norwich City’s former home ground, started last year with the renovation of the existing clubhouse, relaying of seven football pitches and installation of residential ‘bunk boxes’.

The work cost £1.5m and was completed in September 2018.

Phase two of the project aimed to introduce multiple new facilities at the site later this year.

But Mrs Thornton said many of the proposed features would now have to be put back to phase three due to funding issues.

A five-court indoor sports hall, 60-station accessible gym and IT suite will no longer be introduced this year, she said.

However, the new changing rooms, 3G football pitch and cafe were still likely to go ahead.

The new hub is being built with the aim of engaging up to 12,000 people each year, including those with disabilities and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Mrs Thornton said: “We still need people’s support for this, whether it is fundraising for events or whether it is someone wanting to make a donation.”

About £400,000 has been donated towards the project through various fundraising events.

The CSF, which is Norwich City’s official charity, lost out to four other projects which applied for funding from the LEP.

The LEP also said the project would need to provide “further evidence of need” for the project “to be considered for funding”.

Adding representatives from the LEP and CSF have met since the funding decision was announced the LEP said the two organisations had agreed on a series of actions to the take the project forward and to enable The Nest to secure funding for the second phase of its development.

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