2023 Facilities Fund Awards Announced; £10K granted to Grassroots Projects!
6 April 2023
BaseballSoftballUK is delighted to announce the five recipients of the 2023 Facilities Fund, and further investment into grassroots facilities. Over its first three years, the Facilities Fund has generated a total investment into local baseball and softball facilities just shy of £88,685, over fifteen projects across the country.
Thanks to the Fund, there will be a new youth diamond in Croydon, for a new youth programme; a permanent batting cage at Guildford; a storage unit for the ever-growing MK Softball League; a double bullpen in Norwich, designed to help develop more pitchers and catchers; and a new astroturf batting cage surface in Wragby. These additions align to energised plans for recruiting new players, helping volunteers and improving the practice environments.
As part of BaseballSoftballUK’s (BSUK) Two Sports, One Ambition Strategy launched in August 2020, BSUK reaffirmed its commitment to help grassroots baseball and softball organisations across the UK to become stronger, safer and more sustainable. The Facilities Fund is a key part of this commitment, with £35,000 of BSUK’s own funds invested to date. The scheme, which is designed to attract further funds through match funding, has more than doubled its investment.
The Fund was again oversubscribed with quality applications, crafted with direct one-to-one support from BSUK staff throughout the year, prior to independent awarding panel assessment. All involved were impressed with the high levels of commitment demonstrated by applicants.
BaseballSoftballUK is delighted to announce the following awards:
- Croydon Baseball Club – £2,600 towards a total project of £5,364.
- Guildford Baseball & Softball Club - £4,000 towards a total project of £9,668.
- Milton Keynes Softball League - £1,900 towards a total project of £4,000.
- Norwich Icini Baseball Club - £1,000 towards a total project of £2,038.
- Wragby Baseball Club - £500 towards a total project of £1,000.
With £10,000 awarded by BaseballSoftballUK this year, the five recipients will complete baseball and softball grassroots fields development projects with a total value exceeding £22,000.
"The Pirates are very grateful to BaseballSoftballUK for awarding us these facilities grant,” said Mark Bonney of the Croydon Pirates. “We're excited to build a youth diamond with these funds, which will support the future of baseball in Croydon and South London. With the many positive developments in British Baseball this year, we are pleased and honoured to be a part of such an exciting time for British Baseball!"
Guildford Baseball & Softball Club’s Chris Ward added, “Guildford are thrilled that BSUK is putting continued effort into growing facilities for our sports in the UK. Our projects have been extremely time-consuming for those volunteers project managing, buying, stakeholder managing and eventually building and installing and the support that BSUK have provided to enable Guildford to realise the fruits of those labours and develop our facility is fantastic for all of our members and local stakeholders but also, for all of British Baseball and British Softball as a whole. This investment will benefit generations of ballplayers. Thank you BSUK.”
Commenting on their award, MK Softball League’s Jodie Bull said, “This grant from BaseballSoftballUK will allow us to purchase a storage container for our league’s home ground in Milton Keynes. A secure, conveniently-located central hub for our equipment will give the club easy and reliable access to all the equipment we require to run our league games and training sessions on a day-to-day basis and prevents the inevitable loss or damage of equipment that will occur if we instead distribute the equipment to volunteers. Thank you BSUK!”
Ana Coutinho, Norwich Iceni Marketing and Communications Officer said, "We are incredibly grateful for the awarded grant and the opportunities it will bring to our Club and its members. This funding will enable us to enhance our development programs, providing even more resources and support for our community. Thank you for investing in us and our future."
Mitch Crocker, Wragby Warhammers General Manager, stated, “We’re delighted with the decision BSUK has come to with regards to our grant application. These funds are crucial for us to develop the facilities we offer our members and visiting players.”
“I’m excited that we can now look at building ourselves a batting cage so that our players can practice their hitting in a safe environment all year round," finished Crocker.
BaseballSoftballUK Development Manager Luis Arrevillagas, responsible for overseeing the Facilities Fund, commented, “This continues to be one of the most exciting projects I’m involved with. We’ve seen the impact venue development has, not only in participation numbers but morale for those working on growing the game. We will continue to work closely with clubs, and we particularly want to invite softball leagues to explore the improvement of the facilities they play at.”
The Projects and More Information
Croydon Baseball Club are building a youth diamond and improving the existing adult one to expand their offering to include youth baseball and an adult Baseball for Beginners programme. Guildford Baseball Club will add a permanent batting cage to their facility, allowing for effective practice, helping with their increased junior membership and allowing them to host better tournaments. The ever-growing Milton Keynes Softball League will purchase a much-needed storage unit, this will allow their volunteers to better coordinate and transport equipment for the large number of sessions they provide. Norwich Icini Baseball Club are concentrating on providing more opportunities for their committed coaches, to develop themselves and to work with new and experienced pitchers and catchers by installing a double bullpen. Wragby Warhammers Baseball Club in Lincolnshire are creating an astroturf surface for the batting cage already in place. The astroturf surface will provide a suitable surface for winter practice, promoting fitness and well-being year-round.
As part of the Facilities Fund, BaseballSoftballUK is highlighting successful past applicants with the Facility Feature series, showcasing how the Funding awards have been put to use over the last two years. You can view the first two Facility Features, covering Bristol Baseball Club and Birmingham Baseball Club at the links below:
Further Facility Features will be released throughout the year. BaseballSoftballUK is also committed to working with the applicants who were unsuccessful during this round of funding for future developments. The next Facilities Fund application window opens in October 2023.
With two years remaining for the current Facilities Fund allocation, BaseballSoftballUK is looking for sponsors to help top up and expand the Fund. If you or your organisation are interested in assisting in this endeavour, or know someone who is, please get in touch here.