An historic cricket club today announced plans to spend almost £125,000 branching out into other sports and making its grounds more accessible for disabled people.
Wolverhampton Cricket Club wants to develop two new football pitches next to its cricket field and begin catering for wheelchair sports, as well as bowls and table tennis.
Bosses are also looking to overhaul their car park and install wheelchair spectator decking outside the pavilion.
Vice President Philip Court said becoming a 'community club' would improve the overall offer in Tettenhall, where it is situated, and provide a boost for the whole of Wolverhampton.
He said: "It sounds an almighty statement to make, but as far as I am concerned, if Wolverhampton is ever going to return to anything like it's former glory, like it was in the past when it was a major industrial steel town, if we are ever going to attract the sort of business we did, then this area, from a recreational point of view, is going to be very important."
The club was founded in 1835, making it the oldest sports club in Wolverhampton and among the oldest in the country.
The planned developments will signal a fundamental change in the club's offering, shifting from being solely a cricket club to becoming a 'community club' for the first time.
The club hopes to install the new decking for wheelchair-using spectators imminently, while also bringing in ramps, improving drainage and re-surfacing the car park.
It also wants to install new security lighting outside.
The cost of those works is expected to be around £95,000, with some £75,000 already raised for the car park.
Over the next three years, bosses also plan to develop a new section of land that will almost double the area of the club's fields.
The land is currently owned by Wolverhampton City Council, which allows the club to use it for its third and fourth cricket teams.
The council has agreed to hand over the plot to the club, which then plans to convert it into three football fields – two for junior teams and one that already exists there but which needs improvements.
Additionally, there have been early-stage talks about extending the existing pavilion in order to house indoor games and sports such as bridge and table tennis, as well as bowls.
Mr Court said: "We can survive as a cricket club, but we will not thrive simply as a cricket club.
"The club now wants to move on."
The club, together with Wolverhampton mayor Councillor Milkinder Jaspal, is appealing for businesses and individuals to donate money towards the cost of the project.
Councillor Jaspal said: "The cricket club is a first class asset in the community and we really should support it.
"With the cutbacks and funding situation with the council, as everyone is aware, it is not going to be able to support it.
"This asset is wonderful and it needs to be utilised by the community.
"We need to build it up and protect it going forward because it will service the community and the younger generations for years in Wolverhampton."
For more information, call 01902 753604, or to donate, make cheques payable to Philip Court at Wolverhampton Cricket Club, Danescourt Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 9BJ.Subscribe to our Newsletter