Date published: 06/10/2016
From left to right: Dr Simon Fox, Principal of Flegg High School; Sarah Quantrill, Millwall Ladies FC goalkeeper; Ryan Bennett, Norwich City FC defender; John Ruddy, Norwich City FC goalkeeper; and Michael Banham, Chairman of Norfolk FA, opened the new 3G pitch.
Former pupil and now Norwich City FC defender, Ryan Bennett, returned to Flegg High School today to open Norfolk FA’s ‘theFDC@Flegg’ – a state-of-the-art £700,000 football hub that boasts a third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) and new changing facilities.
Ryan Bennett was joined by fellow Canary John Ruddy and Sarah Quantrill, Millwall Lionesses FC goalkeeper – a product of Norwich City FC Girls’ Centre of Excellence.
The project was made possible thanks to a £405,446 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The grant has enabled Flegg High School to build a 3G AGP and changing room pavilion through what is now Norfolk FA’s third Football Development Centre and their first rural facility in the County. The 3G pitch will be used by Flegg High School and Norfolk FA all-year-round, offering a wide range of football formats, including: 7v7, 9v9 and full-size 11v11.
Through this project, Flegg High School and Norfolk FA worked in partnership with the Football Foundation to establish a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision for how sport will be played at the new facility. As part of the FDP, the Norfolk FA will host its popular County 5IVES programme that offers weekly, competitive 5-a-side fixtures.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth nearly £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of just under £800m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 176 grants worth £7.3m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £16m across the whole of Norfolk.
By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game. Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.
Ryan Bennett, who has represented England Under-18s and Under-21s, said: “It was great fun being back at my old school today alongside John and Sarah to open the new 3G pitch and changing rooms. The facilities here are first-class, allowing the kids to train and play matches on a day-to-day basis. I remember having some great matches here but we certainly never had this standard of playing surface!”
Michael Banham, Chairman of Norfolk FA, said: “I would firstly like to thank Ryan, John and Sarah for taking time out of their schedules to be here today. As a former pupil here at Flegg High I’m sure Ryan can appreciate the positive effect this is going to have on the school’s current students.
“This is a great day for us as an Association; the opening of theFDC@Flegg marks Norfolk FA’s third Football Development Centre and the first in rural Norfolk. Flegg High School has worked hard to make this project happen and it’s warranted that they now have a top class facility in a truly stunning setting.
“Huge thanks must go to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, without who this project would not be possible. Having access to a facility such as this will no doubt have a huge impact on the local and wider communities and in particular grassroots football in the area.”
Dr Simon Fox, Principal of Flegg High School said: “We are delighted for our students and the wider community that we now have such a tremendous sporting facility located here in Martham. It will help boost engagement and inspire more young people to get involved in sport and to be healthier.
“We look forward to welcoming the wider community to our school to use the pitch, and to building many more partnerships which in turn enhance the opportunities available. It is wonderful to see investment in rural Norfolk, and I hope it encourages more organisations to recognise the potential waiting to be unleashed here in the East of the County.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Flegg High School and Norfolk FA to build their new 3G pitch and changing rooms. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and a special thanks must go to Ryan, John and Sarah for opening the new facility.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.
“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This latest project at Flegg High School is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it and to stay healthy.”
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