Liverpool FC defender, Kolo Touré and Liverpool Ladies’ left back, Alex Greenwood joined Everton FC legend Graeme Sharp in Liverpool yesterday (Tuesday 15 March 2016), to officially open Broadgreen International School’s new £339,093 third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP).
The project was made possible thanks to a £269,093 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities and is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.
The Reds’ defenders, Touré and Greenwood, joined former Toffee’s frontman Sharp, and a number of local dignitaries from the council and wider school community, to officially cut the ribbon which declared the new pitch open. The trio also spent time signing autographs and speaking to current pupils, offering advice to the budding young footballers already using the pitch.
Everton in the Community coaches ran a training session on the pitch, with Liverpool FC Foundation College and Broadgreen Sixth Form students taking part in a series of drills and matches.
The site of the new 54m x 43m floodlit 3G AGP was previously home to a concrete Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA), which was in a poor state of repair. The school has no other outdoor green space and the nearest suitable facility was over twenty minutes away, which made planning PE lessons and completive games extremely difficult.
Broadgreen is a resourced school for the profoundly deaf, partially sighted and pupils with special needs, where almost 30% of pupils are on the Special Educational Needs register. The school's pupils and those from other local specialist schools will also be able to access the new state-of-the-art facility for play and coaching.
The Football Foundation worked alongside Liverpool County FA and Broadgreen International School 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 predicts growth in disability provision, with six new teams planned. The site will also support 5v5 and 7v7 football, as well as provide increased opportunities for Under-8 through to Under-16 age groups.
Female participation will also increase through the delivery of coaching and playing opportunities in conjunction with Liverpool County FA, Liverpool Schools FA and Charter Standard clubs and leagues.
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 £546m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £773m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 198 grants worth £14m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £53m across the whole of Liverpool.
Kolo Touré, said: “I was delighted to open the new 3G AGP at Broadgreen International School. The pitch will make a real difference to the experience of the students and grassroots clubs who use it.
“It was great to see the Liverpool FC Foundation College players in action against Broadgreen Sixth Form – you can see how much the new facility means to them. The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, through the Football Foundation, are improving the ways professional clubs like Liverpool, can work with the local community through improving the facilities at grassroots level.”
Alex Greenwood, said: “This pitch is an absolutely fantastic facility and it was a real privilege for me to officially open it with Kolo. Today proves just how important these pitches are, it was full of youngsters from the school and the Liverpool FC Foundation College enjoying their football.
“The pitch will improve the experience of playing football for this community and the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, through the Football Foundation, deserve real credit for making it a reality.”
Graeme Sharp, said: “The new pitch at Broadgreen International School is a great example of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund’s commitment to developing grassroots facilities in Merseyside. There is increased opportunity to have more young people participating in football which is so important to the game.
“The Everton Community Coaches have spent time on the pitch today, and I hope that the funding from the Football Foundation will lead to more community outreach work by Everton FC on the site.
Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said: “The development at Broadgreen International School will have a huge impact on the school and local grassroots clubs, who now have a state-of-the-art pitch to train on and play matches. Sport is an excellent way to bring people together, and improve mental health and well-being, and I am pleased to see this fantastic pitch in my constituency.”
Sally Beevers, Headteacher of Broadgreen International School, said: “On behalf of the school staff, pupils, parents, carers and Governors, I would like to express our sincere thanks to Kolo Touré, Alex Greenwood and Graeme Sharp for officially opening our new pitch and to our distinguished guests for being part of this occasion.
“We would also like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and the Football Foundation for their support with the funding of the pitch, which is a wonderful facility for our school and local community which will support and enhance the development of football in our local area and strengthen our exciting partnerships with Everton in the Community and Liverpool Foundation with ongoing projects to support our young people and community.”
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 Broadgreen International School to upgrade their 3G AGP. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area. I would like to thank Kolo, Alex and Graeme for opening the facility, and look forward to seeing the school go from strength to strength as a result of this funding.”
For more information contact:
• Chris Foss on 07919 220 371 or Chris.Foss@bgis.co.uk
• Niall Malone on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4275 or firstname.lastname@example.org