WORCESTER Hockey Club (WHC) chairman George Chakko-George called for “perspective” and revealed his “surprise” at the reaction to a new £2.9million facility in the city.

The club is set to join forces with Royal Grammar School (RGS) Worcester to build a hockey facility on the site of the Old Porcelain Ground on Droitwich Road.

Worcester City Council is underwriting a £2.1million loan from central government to help fund the project on top of a 30-year lease at a peppercorn rent with a right for the joint venture to buy the land at the end.

READ MORE | Council agrees to £2.1m loan and 30-year lease for hockey facility

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“I am actually quite amused at the amount of attention this has got in the paper, maybe I shouldn’t be,” said Chakko-George in his opening address at the club’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to sanction the collaboration on Wednesday.

“My surprise at the sensationalism was that the real news, which went national, about the guy who killed kids (was out at the same time) and there were more comments about Worcester Hockey Club and the centre than there were about that.

“That makes me say ‘let’s put this into perspective’.”

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Members unanimously voted for the club to proceed with the venture which is still the subject of planning consent.

Next for the hockey club is to start raising the £300,000 it needs to make up its £400,000 equity contribution with Chakko-George keen to rally the troops and avoid relying on funding bodies.

“You have spent a long time talking in the pub, going on about how much we want a club and what we want from facilities. The real challenge is how much you really want it,” he said.

“To answer a question about fundraising, we have created a fundraising group but don’t rely on them and say it is their problem – it is all of our problem.

“We want to build this club, we all want it and if we all put in the money we all benefit from it. You will feel the ownership of it if you put the money in, I promise you that.

“You will feel ‘this is my club’, don’t leave that to the committee or the fundraising committee, think about you can do yourselves.

“We talked about third-party sources. Going back talking to other clubs, feel free to. When you see that poster saying Sport England at Stourport, ask Holly Lashford, their chair, what problems that creates.

“She will tell you because she shared it with me. When you talk to Bromsgrove Hockey Club and their joint venture in what they do with other sports, you find out the problems they have there.

“The more we personally put in, the more we raise (of) that £400,000, the more freedom we have. We want to build a facility for hockey only. Stourport can’t do that, Sport England has ruined their option to ever do that.

“Sport England cares about sport, not hockey. They care about getting people active so just be careful when you say ‘let’s go and get this funding’.

“Most funding has a caveat to it and you have to read the fine print and (decide whether) you really want to commit yourself to that.”