Appeal for athletics facility

A MAJOR appeal has been launched to raise hundreds-of-thousands-of-pounds for a dedicated athletics facility in North Somerset.

A MAJOR appeal has been launched to raise hundreds-of-thousands-of-pounds for a dedicated athletics facility in North Somerset.

Currently, athletics clubs train at a number of different venues across the district including at sports centres, schools and even along Clevedon’s seafront.

However, North Somerset Athletic Club and Academy now wants to raise �400,000 by August 2012 to create a permanent base where its members can train all year round and enjoy facilities including high jump and long jump areas, a sprinting track, throws area and fitness area.

The club works with more than 300 athletes aged eight to 16 as part of the club and with 240 of the area’s elite youngsters aged 10-16 as part of the academy. It currently holds training sessions at Swiss Valley Sports Centre in Clevedon, at Nailsea School and at Churchill Sports Centre.

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Its coaches have already begun looking at possible locations for the new facility and the fund-raising campaign has now been launched.

Through the campaign website,, members of the public can sign up for Easy Fund-raising, which is linked to 2,000 participating online stores including Amazon, Argos, John Lewis and HMV.

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Each time someone navigates to the sites using the Easy Fund-raising link, a percentage of what is spent goes directly to the club.

Head coach and club founder Chris Millard said: “The way I view it is that everyone in North Somerset lives near someone who is involved with the club or academy.

“If everyone who has an interest in athletics, or knows someone who trains with us, signs up, we can get on with the hard miles of fund-raising and approaching businesses during 2011 knowing that the Easy Fund-raising account continues to inch us toward our target.

“It is believed that with a dedicated facility, North Somerset could become one of the top junior clubs in the UK within five years.

“We could be a blueprint for other similar sporting clubs in the future, once they see what can be achieved with drive and imagination.”

It is hoped the Easy Fund-raising could raise up to �100,000 toward the project and other events have been planned by the club to add to the total.

These include a cross country relay at Chuchill Sports Centre on Saturday, a Christmas fair in Yatton on December 18 and a promises auction on March 4 next year.

To raise awareness of the campaign, leaflets will also be dropped through the doors of houses in Portishead, Clevedon, Kenn, Backwell and surrounding villages.

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