Hundreds of people turned out for the official opening of a new multi-million-pound football centre in Cheshire, funded by the Football Foundation.
The state-of-the-art Sandbach Community Football Centre boasts: a ten changing room sports pavilion; a new floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch; and five full-size and three youth-size grass pitches.
On hand to add a touch of Premier League glamour to the opening was Chelsea’s assistant manager, and former Crewe Alexandra manager, Steve Holland. He brought his Champions League winners medal with him – the London side recently won the tournament by beating Bayern Munich in the final.
The ribbon was cut by Cheshire East Mayor Councillor George Walton, chairman of Sandbach United Football Club Andrew Timms, and chairman of Cheshire County FA Dave Edmunds. A special commemorative plaque was also unveiled.
Cheshire East Council and Sandbach United FC worked in partnership with the Cheshire FA to secure a £910,000 grant from the Football Foundation.
Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.
An additional grant of £100,000 came from The FA, as part of their capital allocation within the Whole Sport Plan funding agreement with Sport England.
Councillor Walton said: “It was a tremendous privilege to be involved in the opening of this centre. It is something that I have been involved with during the planning process so it was good to see the project come to fruition.
“It was a great day and the local community really came out to support this excellent new football centre.
“It has state-of-the-art facilities that will not only benefit people in Sandbach but also residents from across the south of Cheshire East.”
Andrew Timms said: “The official opening was everything we hoped for – a tremendous community event bathed in sunshine, with fun and entertainment for all ages.
“It was certainly a fitting celebration to many years of hard work by Sandbach United Football Club, Cheshire East Council and the Football Foundation.
“We can now look forward to providing health and wellbeing through participation in sporting activities to the community of Sandbach for many years to come in these superb surroundings with state-of-the-art facilities.”
Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted to see this tremendous new facility complete and ready for use by the local community.
“The dedication and hard work of Cheshire East Council, Sandbach United FC and Cheshire County FA over a number of years has resulted inthe successful completion of this project.
“Now the important work begins to ensure the facility remains sustainable and benefits as many people as possible.
“None of this would be possible without the crucial cash provided by our funding partners The FA, the Premier League and the Government.”