Businessman Roger De Haan funds £7million sports centre in Folkestone
by business editor Trevor Sturgess
A charitable foundation set up by former Saga Group owner Roger
De Haan has funded a new £7million sports centre.
Three Hills Sports Park, opening today in Folkestone, is
the latest initiative to be backed by the Roger De Haan Charitable
The entrepreneur and benefactor (pictured right) who sold
the over-50s financial services and holiday group already supports
the town's creative quarter, The Creative Foundation, seafront
development, and Ramsgate's Marlowe Academy and Marlowe Innovation
His latest generosity has gone to a complex aiming to be a
centre of excellence for hockey, cricket, netball and running. It
will also provide facilities for a range of other outdoor and
Hugh Robertson, sports minister and MP for Faversham and Mid
Kent, is due to officially open the centre.
Cricket and hockey have been played on the site - previously
known as Cheriton Road Sports Ground - since the 1920s.
But by 2008, facilities shared by Folkestone Optimist Hockey
Club and Folkestone Cricket Club were no longer suitable or viable,
putting the future of both clubs at risk.
Mr De Haan encouraged them to develop more ambitious plans and
netball was introduced as a third core sport. He was
impressed by the plans and his trust offered a £6.8 million grant
to cover development and construction costs.
The Cheriton Road Sports Ground Trust (CRSGT) was formed to
venture. The centre will be contract managed by Freedom Leisure, a
not-for- profit leisure trust that manages 33 sites in Kent, Surrey
and Sussex on behalf of councils, schools, sports clubs and other
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