Sports centre gets complete revamp

A coaching session with Stephen Harmison.
A coaching session with Stephen Harmison.

A community sports centre in Ashington has upgraded its facilities and installed a state-of-the-art synthetic pitch.

The work completed at the Hirst Welfare Centre includes the resurfacing of the synthetic 3G pitch and the installation of full-sized goals and new fencing.

The pitch has been completely revamped with a new green SIS Soccer Pro 60 3G surface providing space for one 11-a-side and three 7-a-side pitches.

Active Northumberland worked closely with lead contractor Support in Sport (SIS UK) and the Hirst Welfare Centre to remove the old pitch and re-lay the new surface.

The £140,000 project was funded through Northumberland County Council’s capital programme.

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck and chairman of the welfare centre, said: “This is great news for the many users of the centre and the many who travel extensively to use the excellent facilities at HWC.

“Credit goes to Active Northumberland and the Hirst Welfare trustees who understand the needs of the local community and have delivered this outstanding sporting facility despite severe financial constraints.

“I can confidently predict that many people across all age groups will enjoy using what is a superb sporting facility.”

The centre offers a range of activities, including a gym, fitness classes, youth services and a café and nursery.

Gary Middleton from Active Northumberland, football development manager at Hirst, said: “We are delivering a packed programme of football on the new surface for tots to teens and beyond. The new pitch is a great asset and is essential in attracting new participants into all levels of football.”

Rob Story from Active Northumberland, centre manager at Hirst Welfare Centre, said: “Resurfacing the pitch has been a real team effort and we now have a top class surface for users to play on alongside our grass pitches and indoor playing areas.”

Ashington Community Football Club manager Stephen Harmison said: “The new surface is great and makes a huge difference to our training. The Hirst Welfare Centre offers opportunities for young people to get involved in sport and has a great development programme for football and a pitch to complement this.

“Ashington Community Football Club is also undergoing substantial investment into new facilities including a 250-seat stand. This and the new 3G facility at Hirst are helping to regenerate and revitalise Ashington.”