Players and spectators at an historic Gateshead community cricket club are getting a clearer view of the game thanks to a four-figure grant from the North East’s biggest building society.

Whickham Cricket Club had been looking for ways to replace the aging windows in the changing rooms and scorebox at its Whickham Glebe Sports Club ground in the village to ensure everyone can see the action on the pitch.

And after being awarded a £1,875 grant through Newcastle Building Society’s Front Street branch in the village, it has now been able to install new windows in both locations, as well as improve the front of the pavilion by adding smart new fascias.

The size of the changing room windows has also been increased to allow junior players to look through them without having to climb onto a bench or chair.

Founded in 1860, Whickham Cricket Club runs three senior teams, with its 1st XI competing in division two of the Northumberland & Tyneside Senior Cricket League, and also has around 200 junior members playing in nine age-group teams for boys and girls from under nines level upwards.

Peter Ruddick, committee member at Whickham Cricket Club, says: “Our existing windows had been in place for more than 20 years and had begun to rather show their age.

“Because they have to be made of toughened glass, they weren’t as clear as we wanted them to be, and the height at which they were set meant that our junior players struggled to see out of them at all.

“The new windows give a perfect view out onto the pitch from all angles and have really improved the environment both within and especially outside the pavilion, which now looks much smarter.

“It’s great that we were able to get them installed in time for the delayed start to the season, especially as having good facilities like this helps to show that we’re a progressive club and plays an important role in attracting and retaining players.

“This would have been a big cost for a community club like ours, especially in the present circumstances, and Newcastle Building Society’s support has enabled us to get this important work done much sooner than would otherwise have been possible.”

Stephen Pattison, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Whickham branch, adds: “The cricket club is one of the main hubs of our community and many of our customers have direct or indirect links to it.

“One of the Society’s main aims is to contribute to the well-being of our communities wherever we can and we’re very pleased to have supported a local project that we know will be well used for many years to come.”

The funding has been provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which was set up to offer grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the Society’s branch network, and put forward for support by its customers.

Since its launch in 2016, Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund has also contributed over £1.8m in grants and partnerships with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Princes Trust. The grants are so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 151,000 people.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Society also made a £100,000 contribution to the £1m appeal set up by the Tyne and Wear Community Foundation for its Coronavirus Recovery and Response Fund.

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.