Rory has met with representatives from the Pitch Replacement Group for Kirkby Stephen Community Sports Association to discuss the site’s condition and their plans for its improvement.

The pitch, which is over 22 years old, and ten years past its life expectancy, has deteriorated to such a state that it will soon be unfit for use. The facility is used regularly by over 15 local groups including hockey clubs, football clubs as well as larger organisations including Sunderland Football Club and would be a great loss to the community if it was not replaced. As a result, Claire Smithson and Andrea Dixon wrote to Mr Stewart, requesting a meeting, and he was delighted to comply. Claire and Andrea briefed Rory on their plans, explaining that they intend to replace the worn out carpet and shock pad layer, in addition to upgrading the lighting to a cheaper and more efficient LED alternative. They told Rory that, so far, the Association has raised almost two thirds of their £312,000 target, with outstanding applications with a number of different funding steams including the Eden District Council Signature Fund.

Mr Stewart was very happy to lend his support to the project stating that “Projects like this show how strongly community focused local people are. This facility supports not only the population of Kirkby Stephen, but many outlying towns and villages. It ensures that everyone has the opportunity to become involved in sporting activities and, as a result, meet new people and socialise more widely. I am delighted to support this project and look forward to seeing the new pitch in due course.”

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