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Joe Cole opens Barking and Dagenham's first 3G pitch

Joe Cole opens Barking and Dagenham’s first 3G pitch

Date published: 23 May 2014

Press release

Joe Cole cutting the ribbon at Robert Clack

West Ham United FC midfielder, Joe Cole, visited Robert Clack School recently to unveil Barking and Dagenham’s first third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP), which was made possible by a £450,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

The new pitch, which will complement the school’s already impressive sports facilities, was officially opened by the Hammers’ star who then watched students play in celebratory five-a-side football matches on the new surface.

Robert Clack School has a close educational relationship with West Ham United, with the club’s Under-15 and Under-16 players taking GCSE qualifications at the school.

Furthermore, the new facility will provide a home for four local football clubs including Aztec FC, Roneo Colts FC, Byron Red Star FC and Dagenham Park Rangers FC, who operate more than 60 teams between them.

The school worked in partnership with the Essex County FA to secure a £450,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. The Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England and is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.

Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 12,000 grants worth more than £490m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £651m – over £1bn of investment into the grassroots game. 

Since 2000 the Football Foundation funding partners’ investment has provided 150 grants worth £12m towards grassroots sports projects worth almost £24m across the whole of Essex.

Joe Cole, said: “It’s a real honour for me to open this pitch, the first 3G AGP in Barking and Dagenham. Surfaces like this, funded by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, are absolutely first class because they don’t get waterlogged, and when it gets dark the floodlights mean you can keep on playing! You can see how much of a draw this facility will be, and judging by some of the skills I’ve seen on show there are some stars of the future out there.”

Paul Tighe, Head of Academy Education, West Ham United, said: “It’s great to see Barking and Dagenham’s first 3G AGP open and ready for use and we are extremely grateful to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for providing the money for such a wonderful facility. 

“The new surface will provide a hub for local sporting activity and will enable the West Ham United Foundation to continue delivering community projects for many years to come.”

Sir Paul Grant, Head Teacher, Robert Clack School, said: “We are convinced that Robert Clack’s outstanding record of community engagement will ensure that this magnificent 3G pitch will significantly increase football participation in the borough and beyond.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added: “This is an outstanding new football facility, which will benefit football and other sports in Barking and Dagenham and the surrounding area. Developing new grassroots facilities, such as this, is essential to increasing the number of people who have a chance to stay fit and healthy through participating in sport.

“The Football Foundation is dedicated to improving sports sites across the country with investment from our funding partners – the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. I congratulate Robert Clack School and the Essex County FA for their hard work on this project.”

ENDS

For more information contact:

  • Charlie O’Neillon 020 8724 1104 or CO’Neill@Robert-Clack.bardaglea.org.uk  

  • Sarah Hall on 0845 345 4555 Ext: 4274 or sarah.hall@footballfoundation.org.uk

  • Laura Burkin on 0208 548 3756 or lburkin@westhamunited.co.uk

Joe Cole walking down the middle of children in branded t-shirts
Joe Cole autograph
kids in branded t-shirt activity on 3G
kids in branded t-shirts playing on 3G

Quote

“It’s a real honour for me to open this pitch, the first 3G AGP in Barking and Dagenham. Surfaces like this, funded by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, are absolutely first class because they don’t get waterlogged, and when it gets dark the floodlights mean you can keep on playing! You can see how much of a draw this facility will be, and judging by some of the skills I’ve seen on show there are some stars of the future out there.”

Joe Cole, Player, West Ham United

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