Date published: 13/04/2016
Chris Powell, football manager and former England defender, was at Northolt High School in Ealing yesterday (Tuesday 12 April 2016), to officially open the schools’ refurbished third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP), in his first role as a Football Foundation Ambassador.
The project was made possible thanks to a successful £288,034 grant secured by Ealing Council and Northolt High from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
Lambeth-born Powell played for a host of London’s top teams including West Ham United FC and Charlton Athletic FC, who he also managed for three years, declared the stunning new facility officially open by unveiling a ceremonial plaque with teachers and pupils from the school.
The grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund enabled the school to refurbish the old 3G carpet, which had become so worn that it was hindering the pupil’s PE lessons. Now the new state-of-the-art surface will play host to a range of different football sessions for the students, as well as rugby lessons.
The Football Foundation worked with Ealing Council, Northolt High School and Middlesex FA to produce a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP), which is a vision for how football will be delivered at the site with emphasis on increasing participation. The plan foresees the creation of an adult five-a-side “pay and play” league, as well as a spike in the numbers of male and female players using the facility for informal matches.
Projections suggest that the Premier League Kicks programme – a football-focused community outreach scheme aimed at difficult to reach young people – will see a rise in the numbers of children taking part. In fact Brentford FC’s Community Sports Trust will deliver weekly Premier League Kicks sessions and also run a futsal programme at the refurbished facility.
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 14,000 grants worth more than £560m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £786m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 214 grants worth £21.3m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £92.5m across the whole of Middlesex.
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.
Chris, said: “I was delighted to be at Northolt High School to officially open their outstanding new 3G pitch, which was made possible thanks to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. It was really inspiring to see the pitch full of young people enjoying their football today – the facility will have a significant impact on local grassroots sport for years to come.
“I am delighted to be a Football Foundation Ambassador because their commitment to improving grassroots facilities, like this one in Ealing, is exceptional. Over the last 16 years, the Foundation have honed their ability to identify the areas that need investment most and then build facilities that get more people playing sport, making entire communities healthier in the process.
“It is also brilliant to see the Foundation’s work in connecting the grassroots game with the elite level of the sport via professional clubs’ outreach work. Brentford FC’s Community Sports Trust are already delivering some great sessions from the new pitch, which is giving local kids a positive focus that they otherwise would not have had.
“Projects like this would not be possible without the money, invested expertly by the Football Foundation, which comes from the Premier League, The FA and the Government through Sport England. Without their money, facilities like the one I opened today would simply not exist – their commitment to the lowest levels of the game should be praised.”
Gloria Lowe, Headteacher, Northolt High School, said: “I would like to thank Football Foundation Ambassador, Chris Powell, for officially opening our fantastic new pitch.
“The new facility is a great addition to the school, and the pupils are so grateful to have a state-of-the-art, all-weather pitch that they can use during PE lessons and for extra-curricular activities. Our local grassroots partner clubs have also benefitted from the investment, as they too can use this brilliant facility to train and play matches on.
“Without the generous funding from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, this pitch would not have been possible, so I would like to extend my thanks to them for providing the funds that allow Northolt High to have a sustainable, top-quality sporting facility for the future.”
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