Date published: 06/06/2016
A new £498,200 third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) was officially opened at Woodford Park Leisure Centre recently (Friday 3 June 2016), thanks to a £277,200 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
The grant has enabled Woodley Town Council to construct a high quality football training facility to help meet the demands of the local football community. Woodford Park Leisure Centre now boasts a full-size 3G AGP that can be split into three 5-a-side pitches for training and small-sided match purposes.
The Football Foundation worked in partnership with the Berks and Bucks FA and Woodley Town Council to put together a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a forecast for how sport will be played on site as a result of this funding.
Main partner clubs Woodley United, Woodley Zebras FC and Woodley Wanderers, alongside local primary schools and the nearby Phoenix and Reading Colleges, will all use the new pitch.
There are currently 73 teams between those partner clubs, and this is expected to increase by 30 more teams and 905 extra players over the five-year Plan. This surge in numbers includes a predicted 71% increase in participation attributed to the development of new Under-15 and Under-18 teams, 197% increase in female participation across the partner clubs and 19% increase in non-football provision at the facility which includes general fitness, tennis and badminton.
The Reading Community Trust (RCT) are also hoping to use the facility for a range of activities including summer holiday sports camps.
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 £540m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £787m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 247 grants worth £10m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £69m across the whole of Berkshire/Buckinghamshire.
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.
Ed Whitesmith, Leisure Services Manager, Woodley Town Council, said: “I would like to personally thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund as without the grant this whole project would not have been possible. The new pitch really is the jewel in the crown for football in Woodley and will be a huge asset to grassroots football within our community for many years to come.”
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 Woodley Town Council to upgrade the facilities on offer at Woodford Park Leisure Centre. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.
“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 in Woodley 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 if it and to stay healthy.”
For more information contact:
- Ed Whitesmith on 0118 9216969 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Alice Sherritt on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292 or email@example.com