Funds are being desperately sought to help support the Petworth Park Joint Sports Association (PPJSA).
After a long and successful history, members of the PPJSA’s committee fear that falling membership of the individual clubs is making it increasingly hard to afford the monthly costs of leasing the facilities from the National Trust.
They stress there has never been a more important time to support the individual clubs which form the association, not just now but for future generations.
Jez Wakeford, 49, secretary of Petworth Cricket Club and treasurer of the PPJSPA said: “If one club was leasing the site they would struggle.”
Vincent Phillips, 68, who has been involved with the fooball club since he was a teenager, playing between the ages of 15 and 40, said: “It’s a serious financial situation.
“No one club can afford to be in the place alone and it is a concern.”
Expenditure includes rent, insurance, maintaining the grounds, heating, and lighting, as well as many other running costs.
The PPJSA is home to the town’s football, cricket and stoolball clubs, all of whom come together to use the pavilion and the nine-acre grounds.
These costs could be met if more people joined the clubs, but Mr Wakeford raised the issue that less young people are joining the cricket club now, as there is no local school which teaches cricket.
“It’s basically not taught at the school anymore.
“We used to have enough for two Saturday teams, two Sunday teams and a midweek team.”
As a way to combat falling income and rising expenses they have launched a 100 club appeal to raise some extra funds.
Mr Phillips said: “PPJSA are desperate to gain more members for their 100 club appeal.
“The Association are grateful to all those who have kindly responded so far, but are concerned that the seriousness of the situation has not been appreciated by everyone.
“The organisers stress that there has never been a more important time to support the clubs.
They appeal to all who wish to see a continuation of sport in the park to join the 100 club to ensure we can maintain our presence in our excellent playing facilities, not just for now, but for local people in years to come.”
People joining the 100 club stand a chance of winning 40 per cent of the monthly pool, and the regular monthly income it would provide could help the PPJSA bridge the deficit that has arisen.
Anyone requiring a membership form should contact Vincent Phillips on 01903 207436, or pick up a form from Austens in the Square.
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