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Today we are delighted to announce that following discussions with GSK plc, the London Borough of Hounslow and Fields in Trust, Middlesex Cricket is receiving a donation of the freehold and assets for the sports ground at Swyncombe Avenue in Brentford from GSK.

GSK is moving its global headquarters from Great West Road in Brentford to Central London later this year, and the Company has been leading discussions to donate the sports ground and its equipment to benefit the local community.

Swyncombe Avenue Playing Fields, a 4.5-acre site which sits in the London Borough of Hounslow and borders the London Borough of Ealing, has been owned by GSK for many years. Since 2012, the grounds have been protected in perpetuity, by Fields in Trust, a charity established almost 100 years ago to protect parks and green spaces for future generations, which protects nearly 3,000 such spaces across the UK.

Before the COVID pandemic, the site provided facilities for local cricket, football and tennis teams, and in agreement with GSK, and in compliance with the Fields in Trust protection order, Middlesex Cricket will continue to maintain the site for its usage as a sports facility.

Whilst the site is not large enough to provide Middlesex Cricket with opportunities for its professional sides to play competitively, the Club sees it as the perfect venue to continue its commitment to grow and develop the Women and Girls’ game, with support from the ECB, by providing a training and playing base for Middlesex Women and the County Age Group Girls’ squads to further strengthen the player pathway.

Taking ownership of an existing sports ground, pavilion, and its maintenance equipment provides the opportunity to improve and develop sustainable facilities for the game in the future and sits right at the heart of the Club’s Strategic 2024-2034 Facilities Plan. It presents an exciting opportunity for the Club to maximise use of the venue, both for its own Women, Girls’, and Youth pathways, as well as for the benefit of the local community.

Geographically, Swyncombe Avenue sits in a key strategic engagement area of the county, where demand for the game in local communities far outweighs available playing facilities, with areas of high African Caribbean and South Asian populations situated close to the ground. Long-term plans are to see the venue’s sports facilities further developed to provide increased opportunities for local community usage and improvements to the Pavilion facility to provide an important recreational space for community group usage.

Speaking of the donation of the freehold of Swyncombe Avenue, Middlesex’s Chief Executive, Andrew Cornish, commented:

“First and foremost, I would like to extend the thanks of everyone at Middlesex Cricket to all at GSK for their generosity in donating the freehold of Swyncombe Avenue and for entrusting us to maximise its use as a sporting facility in the coming years.

“I would also like to thank everyone at the London Borough of Hounslow for their support and cooperation in this process, and we very much look forward to working closely with them moving forwards in our plans to return this important recreational facility to a much-valued sporting hub for the local community.

“Taking ownership of Swyncombe Avenue Sports Ground provides us with the perfect opportunity to grow the game, especially in the Women and Girls’ pathway – enabling us to make a really positive impact on gender imbalance in the game.

“Furthermore, through engaging local communities, in some of the most densely populated ethnically diverse areas of London, we have an opportunity to make real social change where high-quality fine turf cricket grounds are few and far between.

”Finally, a huge amount of credit must go to Middlesex’s Josh Knappett for getting us to this point. He has worked tirelessly on this project with all the parties involved, and our thanks go to him for his efforts.”

Alan Coleman, Middlesex Cricket’s Director of Cricket, commented:

“The acquisition of Swyncombe Avenue couldn’t come at a better time for Middlesex Cricket, given our commitment to growing and developing the Women and Girls’ game.

“To have a permanent base for our Women and Girls’ sides to train at is crucial for our plans to develop the pathway moving forward and offers great support to our bid to run one of the elite tier one Women’s sides.”

Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said:

“I’m really pleased that Middlesex Cricket have taken on the ownership of Swyncombe Avenue Sports Ground and protected it forever with Fields in Trust. It is clearly a valuable green space for the local community and Middlesex Cricket’s ambition for a Women and Girls’ cricket hub at the ground to develop the women’s game in the county is exciting.

“We look forward to seeing the plans come to fruition and to working with Middlesex Cricket to protect more green spaces to benefit cricket now and for future generations.”

Councillor Salman Shaheen , Portfolio Holder for Recreation, Public Spaces and Parking said:

“I am very pleased that we have worked in collaboration with Middlesex Cricket, Fields in Trust and GSK, facilitating the transfer of the freehold and assets of the Swyncombe Avenue Sports Ground to Middlesex Cricket. This initiative has been well developed in true partnership and aims to rejuvenate the grounds as a vibrant hub for Cricket

Particular focus will be on fostering the growth of the Women and Girls’ game which will inspire more women and girls across Hounslow, thus aligning with our own shared commitment to enhancing recreational spaces and promoting equitable sport in Hounslow.”

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