New pavilion gives growing football club grounds for optimism

Oxford Mail: Club members outside the new pavilion Club members outside the new pavilion

THE SUN broke through the clouds at the moment the ribbon was cut at Hinksey Park Football Club’s new £730,000 pavilion.

Hundreds of young players, parents and team managers turned out to the South Oxford club’s summer party on Saturday.

Having been Oxford’s fastest-growing club for the last five years, with a 20 per cent rise in players every year, Hinksey Park now has a clubhouse for the first time.

The four new changing rooms, club room and kitchen will mean the club, already at 300 members, can grow even more.

For the first time, it is starting girls’ teams, and secretary Mick Conmy used the occasion to appeal for more parents to help run teams.

He said: “We are already Oxford’s fastest-growing club, but we need help to grow further – we have three new teams starting next year.”

One of the club’s longest-serving players, 16-year-old Willem MacDonald, helped cut the ribbon.

Willem, of Grandpont, who has played with Hinksey Park since he was four, said: “I think this will make a lot of difference. It will attract more people and make the whole atmosphere better.”

The building was made possible by a £631,000 grant from Oxford City Council and £99,000 from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

City council leader and ward councillor Bob Price told the crowd he was on the council 30 years ago when it first saved what is now Hinksey Park from industrial development.

He said: “This is a very exciting moment for me. When I first joined the council, all this area was just mud and spoil from the old gas works. We had a vision in 1983 to make this area into a park, and now 30 years later we have this fantastic recreation ground.”

The Grandpont pavilion is the first in what the council is hoping will be a wave of new football clubhouses across the city. It has put aside £3.1m to help create new buildings at Cowley Marsh, Blackbird Leys, Barton, Cutteslowe and others yet to be revealed.

The Hinksey Park building is the first new football clubhouse in Oxford since Cowley Marsh 18 years ago.

Chairman Jim Smith thanked the players, saying: “Without you there would be no Hinksey Park Football Club, and you have had a fantastic season.”

To volunteer or to find out more, email hinkseyparkfc@gmail.com

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