By Gary Anderson

A new baseball and softball facility is set to be opened in Manchester in 2017 ©BaseballSoftballUKBaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) has announced that construction is set to begin on a new purpose built baseball and softball facility in Manchester.

The facility is scheduled to be completed in 2017 and is aimed at promoting the sports in the North of England, and enhance baseball and softball development programmes in the region.

The development will consist of an international-standard baseball field, a fully-skinned softball field, along with a second softball and youth baseball field in the outfield corner of the main baseball field.

The complex will also benefit from access to high-quality indoor practice facilities, a fitness suite and meeting and office space around the site.

"I am extremely excited about the possibility of bringing first-class facilities to the north of England - facilities that can be used by everyone in the community and help grow the sports we love," said BSUK's regional development manager for the North West, Luis Arrevillagas.

"We are now working hard with Manchester City Council, Sport England and other funding bodies to provide the best baseball and softball facility we can for Manchester and the north."

John Boyd, BSUK's joint chief executive and head of development, added: "Manchester is a great option for us.

"Greater Manchester is the second most populous area of the country and has great potential for the growth of our sports.

"The existing playing community, particularly the Manchester Softball League and the Manchester Baseball Club, will be hugely important to the success of this project, as will the really valuable local partnerships with schools, colleges, universities and corporates that we've built up since choosing to work in Manchester in 2005."

BSUK has been the development agency for baseball and softball in the United Kingdom since 2000.

It provides services to the sports' governing bodies, the British Baseball Federation (BBF) and British Softball Federation (BSF) with the aim of developing and increasing the levels of participation, skill and achievement in UK baseball and softball.

The new facility in Manchester will follow on from the purpose-bulit Farnham Park Baseball and Softball Complex in Slough opened last year ©BaseballSoftballUKThe new facility in Manchester will follow on from the purpose-built Farnham Park Baseball and Softball Complex in Slough opened last year ©BaseballSoftballUK

The announcement of plans to build a new facility in Manchester follows on from the opening of the first purpose-built facility for both sports in Britain in July last year with the completion of the Farnham Park Baseball and Softball Complex in Slough

Since then, BSUK claims that the facility has been accessed by around 4,000 existing players, 400 new 13 to 15 year olds, 400 new adult players, 100 primary school children and 20 blind or visually-impaired participants in BSUK's Beepball programme.

"Four years ago, we set out to significantly improve baseball and softball facilities across the country," said Boyd.

"First we funded improvements for 10 different clubs, then we built a new complex in Farnham Park and today we are moving on to developing a new facility that will service Manchester and the north west.

"At each step, we've demonstrated a direct link between an increase in the number of people playing our sports and the new facilities."

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