Young athletes in Kettering could be able to train all year round after Kettering Town Harriers athletics club was given a funding boost in its bid to install new purpose-built floodlights.
The track in Thurston Drive currently relies on shared lighting with the adjacent hockey pitch, which is only bright enough to light the 100-metre straight.
And now a grant from England Athletics, awarded to Kettering Council which will manage the development, has brought its hopes one step closer to reality.
Club athletes currently train twice a week between 7pm and 9pm, but between September and April when the track’s visibility is at its poorest only limited numbers can be safely accommodated on the facility.
The new lighting would give the opportunity to boost the squad’s competitive performance, as well as supporting people of all abilities and backgrounds in taking part in athletics.
The club has contributed £14,000 of its own funds to the project, which could be completed as early as March 2016.
Kettering Town Harriers chairman Matt Brown said: “The new floodlighting will make a massive difference to all the club coaches and athletes during those dark nights.
“Since moving to Thurston Drive training with the limited lighting has been a major challenge.
“This will enable us to grow the club and increase participation levels in all areas.
“It will also benefit the whole Kettering community and put us on a sure footing going forward.
“We will be able to enter more diverse competitions in future and also plan evening open meetings which will benefit the current club athletes as well as those from the wider surrounding areas.”
England Athletics chief executive Chris Jones said: “We are delighted to be able to support Kettering Town Harriers in this way.
“Fundamental to any athletics club is the work of its volunteers.
“I was very impressed by the people I met and what I heard about how they were already working to address this situation when I visited the club earlier this year.
“Having the right facilities in place really does mean their efforts can be so much more effective.
“We trust the provision of this improved lighting will help the tremendous work done by the club to create an excellent experience for all of its athletes.
“It should help them as they work to attract and retain athletes of all levels in the sport, as well as supporting their efforts to develop the performances of the talented athletes the club clearly has.
“We know that Kettering Town Harriers has a fine track record for bringing people into the sport and developing athletes, including English national champions and many more who have made the finals.
“We look forward to hearing of many more successes in the years to come.
“The club and council are to be commended for the way in which they have worked with ourselves and Sport England on this project.”