Furness Vale’s pitch was a local joke, sloping and water-logged, it had long been abandoned by the local football club. Through funding, significant volunteering time and an asset transfer from the council, Furness COGS have developed a pitch and surrounding green space now at the heart of community life.
What follows is a summary of Furness Vale’s journey. For full detail, please view this PDF version.
Facts & figures
- Type of project: Levelling and drainage of full size grass football pitch and installation of activity trail
- Type of organisation behind the project: Charitable Incorporated Organisation - Furness COGS (Community Organising Green Space)
- Uses of facilities: football, hockey, rounders, general exercise (sports and school activities)
- Location: Park Crescent, Furness Vale, High Peak, SK23 7PU
- Funding: Overall cost: £173,000. Sport England contribution: £80,382. Other significant funding: WREN Recycling £47,000; Tesco £12,000; BIG £6,195; Derbyshire County Council £5,000; High Peak Borough Council £2,850; COGS fundraising: £20,000.
Key events and milestones
|2007||Furness Vale Field Day Committee formed|
|Agreement in principle to asset transfer|
|July 2010||Community consultation event|
|2010-13||Lease negotiations and objections|
|May 2013||Protecting Playing Fields funding secured from Sport England|
|Aug 2013||QE2 status granted|
|Oct 2013||COGS secures charitable status|
|2013-14||Construction problems identified with rock, pipeline and equipment|
|June 2016||Funding from WREN recycling for pathways and equipment|
|Sept 2016||Seeding of pitch|
|Nov 2016||Additional funding secured from Sport England|
|Sept 2017||Drainage installation completed|
|Sept 2017||Celebration match|
|Oct 2017||Furness Vale FC to use the pitch on an ongoing basis|
The original driver for this project came from two former players at Furness Vale FC. Their home pitch had become unfit for purpose due to its pronounced slope and poor drainage. The football club had stopped using it once it was deemed unfit by the league they played in, meaning that they had to play all of their games outside the village. Following various meetings with the council over a 20 year period to seek improvements no action was forthcoming, and so they decided to take matters into their own hands.
There had to be a bigger picture than a football pitch project, it's for the community
The project has faced a series of difficulties – from planning and lease issues, to drainage problems, local landowner opposition and even a hidden pipeline – all overcome by securing a range of professional and skilled volunteers, and sheer determination.
Work in progress
The field in June 2016. Advice from Furness Vale COGS is to "expect the unexpected"; work on improving the field had to stop as a hidden pipeline was discovered running underneath.
Furness Vale 2017
The pitch is almost ready for use. Furness COGS are ensuring that improvements to drainage have completely taken hold before opening the pitch up to football and other sports.
The annual 'Field Day' events raised the majority of a very impressive £20,000 of funding generated by Furness community.
An admirable feature of the Furness Vale project is the additional facilities that have been created; their outdoor gym can be used by all community members.
Funding development went hand in hand with the growing maturity of the organisation; and business planning was underpinned by extensive community consultation, partnerships and local support. The plan is for 12,000 users in the first three years of operation from the football club, schools and wider community use, with new fundraising to support delivery.
Furness Vale's Three Take-Home Tips
- Expect the unexpected; be committed
- Be better prepared for local authority bureaucracy; do more site investigations
- Get other people involved/diverse group with a depth of knowledge.
Our take on the project
Our Community Asset Fund, which supported Furness Vale Field, aims to nurture projects which address the five health, social and economic outcomes set out in the Government’s Sporting Future stategy.
We feel that Furness Vale has performed particularly strongly in one of these outcomes; Community Development. It’s a facility which is obviously a source of immense local pride, one which is increasingly talked about in glowing terms, a place to visit and meet whether to walk the dog or watch a match.
In terms of other outcomes, Furness also does well on the following:
- Health and Well Being: it’s an open green space will provide opportunities for social engagement
- Personal Development: COGS remains an entirely voluntary and local group
- Economic Development: the project was committed to use local contractors wherever possible.