“Get behind our fundraising campaign and help turn our dream into reality.”
That is the rallying cry being issued by Portland College Principal Mark Dale as the Nottingham Road college continue their battle to raise a mammoth £2m to overhaul their ageing sports facilities.
The college aim to develop some of the best disabled sports facilities in Britain, which they hope will be second only to the National Centre for Disability Sport at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
So far an impressive £130,000 has been raised after caring locals and business rushed to back the worthy cause.
And although the college can tap into significant funding in the region of £1m from national partners, Mr Dale knows they need widespread community support for the campaign to be a success story.
Mr Dale said: “We are hopeful that we will be able to get half of the funding from significant grants, but we need the community to get behind us and show grant organisations such as Sport England that we have local people behind us.
“The more money we can raise the more money we will be able to access through match funding and the better job we will be able to do.
“Portland College will be able to do the job with £2m, but we could do a spectacular job with £4m and offer even better facilities.
“We recently received £40,000 from the trust fund of a former student who passed away. It was sad circumstances but hopefully the money will help create a lasting legacy for him and a lasting legacy for Portland College.
“We have had excellent support from the Chad and that has been instrumental in getting our campaign in the spotlight. If we have a similar success to the MRI Scanner Appeal we will be thrilled
“We are delighted with how well the campaign is going and the momentum we have had.
“Although we operate on a national level, we are very much a local college with local staff.
“In a way I am not surprised at how well things have gone because Portland College is built on a foundation of generosity from local people.
“It is a great characteristic, people will give their money and time generously to help others when they can.
“We need that fantastic support to continue. Every penny we get gets us that little bit nearer to our goal.”
As part of the dramatic overhaul a variety of state-of-the-art facilities will be developed, including a new sports hall and all weather multi-sport surfaces.
The facilities will provide a training base for elite level competitors and will also be open to sporting groups and individuals from across Mansfield and Ashfield.
For Mr Dale, who has been in the hotseat for eight years, it will be a proud moment if the college do achieve their dream.
He added: “We tried to get this project going five years ago, but a lot of sport funding was directed at the Olympics and general funding dried up with the economic recession.
“We are now looking to create that legacy, it will mean an enormous amount to me for this to happen.
“Sport can make a massive difference to the lives of people, and that is certainly the case at Portland with 85 per cent of pupils being involved in sport.
“Sport is a massive motivational factor for our students and in many cases are life-changing and lead towards a career.
“For me that is the exciting part of what we are looking to achieve.
“I know we are going to achieve our target, I am certain of that. We will keep going to the very end until we get there.”
Sports to benefit will include wheelchair rugby, basketball and boccia.
It is hoped the first stage of development will begin at the end of this year with the installation of floodlights and all weather surface.
College bosses hope to have the entire project completed during 2016.