More than £12,000 donated by community for Calverley St Wilfrid's Cricket Club in huge fundraiser
A cricket club are celebrating the incredible generosity of the Calverley community after more than £12,000 was raised to help renovate their clubhouse.
Calverley St Wilfrid's Cricket Club launched the fundraising drive in order to buy new nets for their teams and hopefully renovate their existing clubhouse.
During the COVID pandemic, the club realised they didn't have enough usable space to comply with social distancing regulations so began to plan for a renovation.
The changes would also support local groups - with plans for new modular furniture and designs.
The club hoped to raise a few thousand pound through crowdfunding to help with the work.
However, Ashley Benson, 33 - the chairman of the club - was astonished at the unbelievable support from the Calverley community and beyond.
In just days, more than £12,000 was raised for the club.
Plans are now underway to utilise the money to transform the popular community club.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Ashley said: "We launched the site on April 1 and within four hours we had reached the first £1,000.
"We have been completely blown away by the response of the community and can't thank them enough.
"Calverley is an amazing community and it has really shown how people can come together to support a vital community asset such as the cricket club.
"We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has donated so far."
In terms of upgrades, Ashley said there are grand plans to help the community who use the facilities at the club.
He added: "We are fundraising to renovate our clubhouse and to purchase new nets for our junior section.
"A few years ago we refurbished the council toilets that are connected to the club, this meant that the ladies toilets inside the clubhouse became redundant.
"They are currently used as a bit of a storage cupboard and while this is useful it doesn't maximise the potential of the space.
"During COVID we quickly realised that we didn't have enough usable space inside to comply with social distancing restrictions and continue to have a good amount of people inside so we began to talk about how we could create more space.
"For a while now our members have been asking us to expand our beer selection to include real ale.
"We haven't been able to do this as our existing cold store is too small to stock the extra kegs.
"These two problems got us thinking that if we demolish the existing cold store and the ladies toilets and relocate the cold store next to the bar we can create a bigger store and have a lot more seating inside.
"We also decided to remove the fixed booth seating and replace this with modular furniture that can be moved around to suit whoever is using the club at any one time, this could be cricket, football, the local bingo club or any one of the various other community groups who use the clubhouse as a base."
Ashley said the club would greatly benefit from new nets.
He added: " We have also identified that our cricket nets need replacing, they are a number of years old and are full of holes that are held together with cable ties!
"We can't have a fixed training facility as many private grounds do due to our location in a public park so we have our sights set on a concertina net that can be folded down to help with storage.
"Our next issue was funding the project, we had seen a few other clubs use Crowdfunder over the past year or so and after looking into it we thought it would be a great way to engage with the local community and raise the funds required to complete the works.
"There was also the opportunity to get some match funding through Sport England's Return to Play: Active Together fund.
"We contacted some local businesses to see if they would offer any donations that we could use as rewards for people donating to our campaign and the response has been amazing.
"We had a variety of local businesses offer us things such as breakfasts at a local cafe and handmade resin coasters, up to a £100 voucher for a tattoo session and a £195 voucher for a teeth whitening treatment!
"We are constantly adding new rewards to the site so encourage people to check back regularly to see what's on offer and of course if anyone feels like they can donate anything to our campaign it would be hugely appreciated."
At the time of writing, £12,666 has been raised.