BURY Athletic Club has high hopes for the future of their facilities, as they plan to make major improvements in a huge modernisation effort.

The club, which is used by everyone from local fun runners to world-class athletes, has long aimed to promote athletics and the club in the local community, and planned potential investments would aid that.

Chair of the club, Mark Granby, said that up to £500,000 is needed for the club to meet their aspirations - but the journey to reaching that total is a long way away.

He said: "There are a couple of criteria that need to be met for the club to be continue to be used for competition and one of those is track mark. It is a national standard to show that the facilities and tracks are safe for users.

"We have had our current track assessed but they said it might only last a couple of years - it was laid in the mid 1980s so it needs improvements. From the club's perspective, our question is; how do we go about re-laying the track?"

The club requires a mixture of funding, grants and donations to be able to make up the required money, to ensure it can continue to be a thriving community staple.

Bury Council are currently working in partnership with the club to refurbish and improve the athletics facility, while a total of £250k has been set aside by the Council Capital Programme 2020/2021 for Bury Athletics Track essential improvements.

This has been allocated on the understanding that the club match funds external grants of £250k for all the improvements required.

Mark added that the club had received support from local authorities in terms of advice and assistance with planning applications, but still requires a significant amount of money.

The club may apply for lottery funding or other grants - but is aware of the uncertainty of grants.

For example,as Mark says, they may apply to a body for £5,000, but only receive £500.

The club has so far received a donation of 800 concrete bullnose edgings from Marshalls Mono in Ramsbottom to replace the edgings around the outer edge of the 650m cinder track which runs around the perimeter of the site as well as receiving notification of a grant of £500 from the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund

Mark added: "Any funding will benefit others too, as many other people and charities use our facilities. We work with people like Action for Children and Wheels For All - we support a number of groups to ensure our facilities are inclusive. We go above and beyond the normal idea of a track and athletics club."