The town of Sandwich is set to benefit from a £100,000 windfall from The Open Legacy Fund, an initiative run by The R&A to leave a positive and long-lasting impact on the local environment and communities in which The Open is staged.
The R&A has agreed to provide £75,000 in funding towards the redevelopment of the Guildhall Market Square, alongside additional investment from Dover District Council, Sandwich Town Council, Prince’s Golf Club and Discovery Park.
The redevelopment project will transform the town’s market square for residents and visitors and will include resurfacing of the current square along with the installation of new features such as improved seating, lighting and a water fountain. The project has been developed in collaboration with the county, district and town councils, and the local community.
A Green Initiatives Grant Programme will also be launched by The R&A, Dover District Council and Sandwich Town Council to enable community groups and organisations in Sandwich to apply for funding to support initiatives that provide social, environmental and health and well-being benefits for the town and its residents.
A total of £52,500 will be made available to community groups and organisations and they will be able to submit funding applications to Dover District Council from Monday 02 March 2020. The applications will be assessed by the local authority using funding eligibility criteria agreed with The R&A.
The Green Initiative Grant Programme includes £25,000 each from The R&A and Dover District Council, and £2,500 from Sandwich Town Council.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said, “We are making this legacy investment because we believe that it is important for the towns and communities in which The Open is played to receive a positive and lasting benefit from the staging of the Championship.
“We are excited about the project to transform the appearance of the Guildhall Market Square in Sandwich and we look forward to working with Dover District Council and Sandwich Town Council to identify local community projects that can be supported by the Green Initiatives Grant Programme.”
Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet, said, “We are really proud to be hosting The 149th Open this year and very grateful to The R&A for being such a magnificent friend to Sandwich for so many years. This very generous investment to improve our market square will help us to ensure that Sandwich continues to be the most beautifully preserved medieval town in the UK.”
Mike Hill, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, said, “Kent County Council is delighted to support the return of The Open to Sandwich, and The R&A’s generous investment to transform Sandwich’s Guildhall Market Square will ensure the legacy of hosting such a prestigious event in Kent is enjoyed by the town’s residents and visitors for many years to come.”
Cllr Trevor Bartlett, Leader of Dover District Council, said, “We’re grateful to The R&A for this legacy investment. Sandwich is incredibly proud of its rich golfing heritage as the first English town to host The Open outside of Scotland and as hosts of The 149th Open this year.
“We’re delighted that local community groups and organisations in Sandwich will be able to apply for funding to support local green initiatives as we work towards a carbon free district.”
The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Sandwich, Cllr Jeff Franklin stated, “The Open Legacy Fund is a very exciting opportunity and we look forward to seeing the benefits that it will bring for the local community. This is a great opportunity for The R&A to start a tangible lasting legacy for the town and people of Sandwich.”