With support from Proffitts – Investing in Communities, work to create Rishton United Football Club’s new £306K home ground at Norden Recreation Ground is nearing completion. The work will help to improve and protect Norden Valley Playing Fields in Rishton for future generations of football players.  

The move comes after Hyndburn Council granted the club a 25 year lease for the site which enabled the club to establish this land as their home ground and apply for funding from Sport England and the Lancashire Football Association, who require a twenty-five year lease as an essential part of any funding application. Funding for the £306,000 refurbishment scheme has also come from Lancashire Environmental Fund, Newground Together and Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ fund with a contribution being made by Hyndburn Council.   

Drainage and levelling works to the grass areas has allowed more pitches to be created and therefore more game time. A new fence installed around the pitches will prevent horses and motorbikes damaging the playing surface. The work has also included a seating area for visitors and spectators and improved access paths. 

Cllr Miles Parkinson, Leader of the Council, said; “We are committed to helping local communities access quality sporting facilities and so it’s great to see to see this project for Rishton nearing completion. It will not only provide the town’s football club with a home ground, but it will also help develop and inspire the next generation of footballers in the area.”

Chic Kelly, Rishton Utd FC Chairman, said; “We are really excited to see the project progressing and finally bringing local grass roots football back to Rishton.  Our teams have had to travel across the Borough to play matches and attend training so this will be welcomed by everyone to have our own home ground.  Whilst we’ve spent 7 years on this project there’s still some fund raising to organise to ensure we complete phase 2 and provide changing facilities and a club house.”

Martin Proffit of Proffitts, Investing in Communities, said; “We’ve been working with the club on this idea since 2012. Together we have overcome many hurdles to get to the stage we are at today. With thanks to the funders involved Rishton United can now provide a great place to train and play for the benefit of many teams throughout Hyndburn for many years to come”.

John Townend, Trustee of Newground Together, said: “By reinvigorating the site, we hope to boost membership to attract more people, in particular young people and women back to the club.”

Fellow Trustee of Newground Together, Laurence Loft, added: “This is a great example of what can be achieved when partners work together. In addition to improving security and maintenance, we expect the landscaping to promote biodiversity on the site.”

Pictured: L-R Chic Kelly-Rishton Utd FC Chairman, John Leaver of Rishton Utd, Council Leader -Cllr Miles Parkinson, John Townend & Laurence Loft -Trustees of Newground Together, Cllr Paul Cox and Martin Proffit of Proffitts.