DEDICATED volunteers are working hard to ensure that Charlton Kings’ new pavilion will be completed on target by the end of March, despite challenges posed by the pandemic.
A small body of members has been regularly assembling on weekends at Ryeworth Fields since the beginning of November and the second lockdown. Particular attention has been paid to the Government restrictions and guidelines to chip away at a long list of labouring jobs to help keep an ambitious project on schedule with the hope that everything will be ready for the start of the new season.
The historic Cheltenham club’s old wooden pavilion was demolished in November 2019 although preparation of the project began a couple of years before to ensure the planning application was fully compliant with being in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The results of many months’ hard work are now clear for casual visitors – and the many walkers who enjoy this beautiful part of the Cotswolds – to see.
The new pavilion – three times bigger than its predecessor – accommodates changing rooms, facilities for the disabled, an officials’ room, a function area and a veranda with a fantastic view that will enable Charlton Kings to generate income throughout the year and to provide a facility for the community to utilise.
Landscaping is progressing quickly whilst work on the interiors is about to hit top gear after resolving delays due to a ‘wet pour’ floor.
Kim Parsley, who recently took over as chairman from Aidan Brown, said: “We should have had everything done by May last year but then Covid came along and the work had to stop.
“The latest lockdown has given us the chance to resolve a few issues and we’ve been able to make progress in a challenging situation.
“Our volunteers have been great, popping up on a Saturday or Sunday and working together socially distanced and safely, moving materials around while at the same time relieving the boredom of being at home and watching box sets!”
Grants from the ECB, fully supported by the Gloucestershire Cricket Board, and Sport England, have been crucial to a project which officials hope will help this community club continue to thrive.
Charlton Kings currently run four Saturday sides, with their first XI in the Gloucestershire County League, a Sunday XI, a women’s XI and a vibrant youth section boasting some 250 members.
Kim added: “We were encouraged by the number of people who wanted to play last year, despite having just half a season and no league cricket, and interest in youth cricket remains very strong … we really hope to see boys and girls from our under-15s and under-16s soon start to push their way into our senior teams.
“All this work now will hopefully benefit our younger generation for many years to come while we also think it’s going to be good for the future of our local community.
“We see a lot of walkers here, and it’s hard to think of a better spot to stop and have a cuppa than on our new veranda, enjoying the wonderful views.”