Work has started on a £1.4 million project to establish a permanent home for Pannal Sports Junior Football Club.
It's been a long-held dream for the club, and now it's all coming together - 13 acres of farmland on Leeds Road is being transformed into spaces for a changing pavilion, eight football pitches, a function room, and facilities for the use of other sports clubs and community groups.
The site will be known as Pannal Community Park, and work on the football pitches is already well under way - once it's been completed, and the drainage has been installed, the second phase will include building and fitting out the changing pavilion building, and continuing to raise funds for the project.
As well as being the home for Pannal Sports, the club’s plans include providing a home for the junior section of Pannal Cricket Club, and a 1km running trail with training stations.
The club worked in partnership with the Football Foundation and the County FA to secure a £354,937 grant from the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund. Fundraising efforts by Pannal Sports and the wider community have also been instrumental in driving the project.
Chairman of Pannal Sports JFC, Nick Viles, said: “The whole club is very excited that we have actually started the building of our new ground. Having a place to call home has been the club’s dream since before I joined 16 years ago.
"We would have never realised our dream without the hard work and dedication of our new ground team led by Mark Taylor, and the expertise and guidance of the team from the Football Foundation, as well as the support of Harrogate Borough Council, the club’s parents and the local community.”
With more than 460 players, and 100 volunteers, Pannal Sports JFC has become one of the largest and most established football clubs in the Harrogate district.
Ground team leader at Pannal Sports JFC, Mark Taylor, said: “We want this to be a facility that benefits the wider community. It’s taken over 10 years to get to this stage, with the first seven years just trying to find a site.
"The last three years have been extremely busy - designing the scheme, gaining planning permission, securing a long term lease, and appointing a contractor.
"There have been a number of challenges to overcome before we could start the work, but we are all looking forward to being able to use the new pitches in the autumn next year."
Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, Paul Thorogood, said: “The news that works have officially begun on Pannal Sports JFC’s brand new facility will undoubtedly provide a boost for grassroots sport in the area.
"Funding from the Premier League, the FA and the Government, through Sport England, is playing a vital role in making the project a reality. Thanks to their investment, Pannal Sports JFC is one of many clubs and organisations across England set to benefit from a state-of-the-art new facility. These facilities not only act as excellent physical and social outlets for