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Gravesham Sports Trust closing in on their funding target to replace Gravesend Rugby Club astroturf

The only astroturf in Gravesend looks set to stay open after a major funding boost.

Gravesham Sports Trust, who maintain the pitch at Gravesend Rugby Club, were told it needed to be replaced after falling into a near-dangerous condition.

That will cost £250,000 but GST were turned down for funding by Sport England, the National Hockey Foundation and the Football Association.

Hopes are high that hockey will continue to be played in Gravesend Picture: Sean Aidan
Hopes are high that hockey will continue to be played in Gravesend Picture: Sean Aidan

However, a recent grant of £39,000 from the Veolia Environmental Trust means they are now 80% of the way to their target.

Simon Chapman, chairman of GST and Gravesham & Wellcome Hockey Club, said: “I’m hugely positive.

“We’ve got funding from the school next door, Gravesham Borough Council and Veolia, so we’re pretty much there to get the pitch up and running.

“We’re still £50,000 short and that’s mainly the VAT element.

“It’s all hinging on the work being done in the next few months and we’re just reaching out to see if we can raise another 50-grand to get us over the line.”

Several football clubs use the astroturf but its suitability for hockey is the key.

Mr Chapman said: “We could probably get another year out of it before we get closed down.

“We have three hockey clubs in Gravesend – Gravesham & Wellcome men, Gravesend ladies and Meopham ladies – and we need to get it done as soon as possible to keep those clubs going.

“It’s still the only astroturf pitch in Gravesend you can play hockey on, which is amazing for a town of 110,000 people.”

To help, contact Simon Chapman on 07896 080010 or visit www.gwhockey.co.uk.

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