Cory Environmental trust in Southend-on-Sea has agreed in principle to grant £75,000 towards a new project to expand activities at the Garon Park Centre of Excellence for Cricket.  The plan is to build a new function room adjacent to the Garon Park pavilion which will operate as a Community Centre and can be used all the year round by local clubs and community organisations. The new building will include a meeting and instruction room which will double as a restaurant on local match days, a fully equipped kitchen, a scorers' area and a toilet for the disabled.

Essex & Southend Sports Trust (EASST), the local charity for sport, has also agreed to make a grant of £25,000 and has re-launched its public appeal so that the Community Centre can be built.

The centre will be operated by the Essex County Cricket Board and has the support of landlord Norman Garon Trust, Essex County Cricket Club and Southend Borough Council. EASST is taking responsibility for fund raising for the project and needs overall to raise £300,000 towards capital and operating costs of the Cricket Centre over the next few years.

"The Cory Environmental trustees are delighted to be supporting this exciting project which will enhance community facilities in Southend" says Trust Secretary, Graham Garner.

Since first launching its Garon Park public appeal in 2005 EASST has already contributed over £200,000 in capital and operating support for the Centre. "This has only been possible because of the magnificent backing we have received from the people of Southend and South East Essex," says EASST chairman Peter Butler who is also a member of the committee of Essex CCC.

"This new project will only go ahead if the money can be raised from local organisations and cricket lovers. We would like to thank the trustees of Cory Environmental Trust in Southend-on-Sea for their magnificent support and we are now a third of the way towards our £300,000 target. But we need to raise more and hope local people will step forward and help by making regular donations to EASST as Garon Park Patrons."

Patrons agree to donate £25 per month for five years under the gift aid scheme. EASST matches these donations £ for £ and arranges to reclaim gift aid tax from the taxman. "We currently have over 30 patrons," says Peter, and this needs to double if the new community centre is to be built."

"We still have £200,000 to find. Every new patron brings us £3,750 closer to our target but we would also be delighted to receive individual or corporate donations of any amount." Peter continued.

There will also be a fund raising charity cricket match as part of the Essex AutoGroup Southend Cricket Festival on Monday 9th August 2010. It will be a Twenty/20 game between Ronnie Irani's Essex XI and a celebrity team including several international cricketers, captained and managed by Southend United manager Steve Tilson.

For further information  on making donations please contact EASST trustee Joe Sims on 01245 321004 or Peter Butler on 01245 360385. If you want to know more about Cory Environmental Trust in Southend-on-Sea, please contact the Secretary on 01702 202484.

It is hoped to build the Community Centre during the 2011/12 winter so that it will be ready for use at the start of the 2012 cricket season.

Around 30 matchdays of cricket have been arranged at Garon Park this summer and the outdoor nets are also used regularly by local cricket clubs and schools and as part of the nationwide 'Chance to shine' project. For further details and to make bookings to use the facilities please contact Tracy Davies, Essex County Cricket Board Development Manager, on 01245 254004 or e-mail Please visit for an updated Garon Park fixture list.