HERTS Baseball Club has been awarded a £10,000 grant from BaseballSoftballUK‘s capital facility funding from Sport England.
This grant – together with nearly £7,000 raised separately by Herts through various fundraising activities – will be invested into the next stage of development of Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel.
It will lead to the creation of one of the most advanced baseball and softball venues anywhere in the United Kingdom.
BSUK’s decision to award the grant to Herts Baseball Club is in line with their 2009-2013 Whole Sport Plan and Sport England’s strategic aims for the sport.
The funds will be invested in the installation of perimeter fencing along the first and third base dead-ball lines of both diamonds, making each diamond a fully-enclosed baseball venue.
Further fencing will be installed to create four fully-enclosed team dugouts for home and visiting teams on both diamonds. Work is scheduled to begin on March 26 this year.
This phase of the long-term project will bring the venue a little closer to the standards set by countries such as the USA and Japan, and start to make up lost ground on fast-growing European baseball countries such as Germany, Holland and Italy.
“BSUK is delighted to award Herts Baseball Club £10,000 towards their facility improvements,” said Brendan Cunliffe, development logistics manager for BaseballSoftballUK.
“Herts Baseball Club is a progressive and well-governed club. The improvements they are continuing to make to their already excellent facilities will attract new adult and youth club members in the Hemel Hempstead area, increase the baseball playing population in the UK, and raise the satisfaction of all players visiting the site over the coming years.”
Herts Baseball Club president Aspi Dimitrov said: “Baseball and softball facilities in the UK have remained underdeveloped over the years and BSUK identified that this is stopping our sport from realising its full potential.
“BSUK’s Facility Strategy in the last few years has energised the British baseball and softball communities, giving clubs around the country the capacity to grow and offer a much better product to participants.
“No matter how hard clubs try on their own, the progress being made at the moment would not be possible without BSUK’s support.
“This is not just in terms of funding but also in expert advice and guidance in developing these facilities.
“This announcement is a tremendous boost not only for the Hertfordshire public, but for the whole British baseball and softball community.
“They will be able to enjoy the benefits of this investment for many years when they come to Grovehill Ballpark for league, tournament, exhibition and international games and events.”