ATHERTON Cricket Club has received a grant of more than £80,000 to install sustainable energy technology and accelerate its plan to become carbon neutral.

Founded in 1872, Atherton Cricket Club is home to several senior and junior cricket teams and functions as a community hub, hosting fun-days, music festivals and charity fund-raising events.

The funding has been awarded by Centrica through its Energy for Tomorrow (EfT) social impact fund, which will allow the club to replace an inefficient oil heating system with an air source heat pump, as well as install solar panels and battery storage facilities to generate and store energy independently on-site.

The grant will also significantly cut energy costs and promote greater financial security, allowing the club to open its facilities to the local community more often.

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Club chairman, Tony Gredecki, said: “Atherton Cricket Club prides itself on being placed right at the heart of the local community and our endeavours stretch far beyond simply cricketing and sports activities.

"We have been on a journey to decarbonise our club over the past few years but have faced a number of financial challenges associated with the goals and objectives.

“The grant and overall support EfT has provided is ground-breaking and allows us to make the most significant step in our decarbonisation journey. Furthermore, it enables the club to extend our opening hours and reach even more of the community to support those in Atherton and the surrounding areas.”

Sarah Wright, programme manager at Energy for Tomorrow, added: “Atherton Cricket Club plays a key role at the heart of the local community, and this grant will help give the club added financial stability for years to come by significantly reducing its energy costs while also delivering big sustainability benefits.

“It’s more important than ever that we continue to support communities across the North West and the rest of the UK, at the same time as creating sustainable solutions that will help us achieve net zero.”

The EfT fund derives revenue from the feed-in tariffs of solar panels installed by Centrica on more than 250 schools across the UK. The solar panels save each school almost £2,500 yearly, offsetting just over 13,000 tonnes of CO2.