Joy as football clubhouse is about to open

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A £155,000 clubhouse for young footballers is due to officially open next Saturday.

The building has been almost two years in the making and was completed as part of BerkoAstro, the community sports project run by Berkhamsted Raiders and Ashlyns School.

The first phase of the project saw a £550,000 all-weather astroturf sports pitch opened in the grounds of the Chesham Road school in November 2010.

But the Raiders, who run training sessions for their youth football teams at the Berkhamsted site, were left with nowhere to go to the toilet or get changed.

Chairman Keith Pollard said: “The new clubhouse will make it a lot more homely.”

He said toilets are a very ‘simple benefit’ that the building – called the Paul Beard Centre – will bring.

He said: “A lot of people who use the pitch come from quite some distances away.

“Previously when they had to go, there was just nowhere for them to hide.”

He added that as well as new toilets and a small changing area, there will be new catering facilities and a classroom at the clubhouse.

Mr Pollard said: “The pitch acts not just as a facility for Berkhamsted, but covers some area of Herts. It is used by a lot of different clubs.

“There was not really any ideal centre around this area to run referee courses and coaching classes, and this has plugged the gap.”

The clubhouse was funded with grants from Sport England, the Football Foundation and Majestic Wine.

Everyone is invited to come along and see it being opened on Saturday, September 8, at 11am. You can see the Raiders training there from 10.30am.

Mr Pollard said a new phase three section of the BerkoAstro project may include bigger changing rooms, large enough for two competing teams, and showers.