Monmouth Sports Association saw a cash boost from an unlikely source last week..

The group of sports clubs have been fundraising to upgrade the 2005 improvements to the pavilion that is home to the Football, Rugby, Cricket, Tennis and Bowls clubs and a welcome donation from the Monmouth and District Long Alley Skittles League players.

Chairman Brian Edwards explained that now the Monmouth and District league has folded, a decision was taken to donate what was left in the bank accounts to be split equally between the five clubs that form the sports association.

A cheque of £1,600 was given to Nick Holt, treasurer of the sports association on behalf of the skittle players towards the development of the pavilion

Whilst improvements were made to the clubhouse in 2005, the function room and the changing areas are tired and outdated and the building is no longer fit for purpose. Not only doesn’t it meet the needs of the member clubs, but it’s a hindrance to them developing their membership, in particular widening participation to include younger members, women and girls and those with disabilities.

Phase one of the development has already seen the small front windows that limited visibility from inside the club to the pitches outside replaced with bigger ones that will create a light and airy function room.

Having already beaten their £20,000 target, the fundraising continues so that extra changing room facilities for younger players and female players will widen the appeal to the sporting community.

To this end Sport Wales donated of £6,000, and an anonymous donation of £5,000 helped the initial fundraising, backed up by significant donations from local individuals and businesses alike.

Paul Jarrold Tyres have donated £3,000 to name the clubhouse for the next three years and the changing rooms will be named after local businesses: the Spar at Overmonnow, Monmouth Dental Practice, Monnow Eye Care, Square Farm Shop and Watkins and Gunn solicitors.

The bar will be moving to create more space and will have a kitchen behind. A retractable wall will allow the function room to expand.

The association is hoping to be successful, in a big grant from the Welsh Government, in the region of £275,000 so they will be able to build an 8m by 11m extension for which they already have planning for which will be a secure ladies and girls changing rooms.

They have now got permission for 15 floodlights for the tennis courts, they hope to put solar panels on the roof of the clubhouse and also they are looking to put in a three-phase supply with the hope of putting floodlights on the main pitch.

They have got the backing of Monmouthshire County Council from whom they have leased the ground since 1987, although no funding.

As Brian Edwards said: “I’ve had my boys strat with mini-rugby and go all the way through and it’s imprtant to keep it all going for the next generation”.