LED has spent the last eight weeks upgrading the synthetic pitch at Ottery Leisure Centre, which is now open for use.
The pitch improvement was funded thanks to East Devon District Council, Sport England, The King’s School and LED Leisure Management.
Improvements include better drainage, a new shock pad and back boards and increa- sed height fences.
Together with lots of additional off-pitch storage, there are also new hockey goals and football goals, with wheels so that players can move them easily. Even the dugouts for managers and subs have been relocated and improved.
The pitch itself has been upgraded to a much higher standard, particularly for hockey.
LED say it will be a great boost for the local Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club who play there.
Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “One of this council’s key priorities is to ensure the successful delivery of the various actions set out in our Playing Pitch Strategy.
“Sport and leisure activities are crucial to maintaining healthy wellbeing for all ages and we are immensely grateful to Sport England for their £113,000 grant – it’s a significant contribution towards this project and together with the funding provided by this council, The King’s School, and LED, will enable a facility programme to be developed for existing and new user groups, from junior to older players.
“It is our mandate to deliver sufficient, flexible and good quality playing pitches to meet the needs of our growing population; the new synthetic pitch at Ottery is an excellent example of how this strategy is already proving beneficial by providing superb sporting facilities not just for now but also the future.”
The pitch can now be divided into three football pitches and two mini hockey pitches.
This means that it’s much more versatile for school PE and also allows the introduction of new versions of games such as Quicksticks for younger children; Rush Hockey for teenagers and adults looking to enjoy informal hockey beyond school.
Walking Football or Walking Hockey, for those who may want to enjoy the games at a slower pace, can also now be played at the club.
LED’s Peter Binks said: “The team at Ottery St Mary Leisure Centre are absolutely delighted with the new synthetic pitch that SIS have constructed on behalf of the funding partnership.
“It is great to see the pitch back in use again in its new and improved form and available to the community.
“The new layout of the pitch, improved surface, better storage, safe run off areas and new equipment will enhance the playing experience of all those using the facility.
“It is also a more flexible and adaptable space, enabling mo- re participants and groups to be accommodated and more playing options for a variety of sports.
“The pitch has floodlighting and is available for booking all year round.
“We look forward to seeing customers old and new in the future. LED’s staff at the leisure centre are happy to hear from anyone interested in viewing or booking the improved facilities.”
Miss K Wright from The King’s School, added: “It has been fantastic to use the newly improved astro, especially during National School Sport Week.
“Events that have taken place up there this week include: a charity football tournament, house rounders matc- hes, a girls cricket fixture and American Football.
“The space lends itself to a range of activities that engages the pupils on all levels.
“The school hockey club cannot wait until pre-season starts in September which will allow us to be ready to hit the season running.”