Date published: 12/06/2013
Former Arsenal Football Club defender and assistant manager, Pat Rice, officially opened an Islington school’s new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch recently.
St Mark’s CE Primary School’s new 3G pitch, part-funded by the Football Foundation, will offer a much needed sporting facility in an area which is short on open recreational spaces. The £308,000 project was also funded by Sport England, the Mayor of London: Facility Fund (MoL:FF), Islington Council, St Mark’s CE Primary School and Cambridge Education Islington.
The school, located not far away from Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates stadium, has forged a link with the Premier League club, who will provide weekly coaching sessions during school time as well as after school sessions. Arsenal FC’s community projects, such as ‘Double Club’, an education and football programme offering a range of subjects together with football coaching, will also use the site.
A much-improved range of sporting activities will be offered to pupils and those of other local schools during term time and the local community will also be able to get involved in football and other sports at the facility at all other times. The new floodlights will allow the facility to stay open after school hours until 9pm.
The school worked in partnership with the London FA to secure a £47,000 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.
St Mark's CE Primary School also received a grant £30,000 from the MoL:FF towards the project. The MoL:FF is part of the Mayor, Boris Johnson’s, commitment to deliver a sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The aim of the Fund, which is managed on the Mayor’s behalf by the Football Foundation, is to increase participation levels in sport in London through the funding of affordable, good quality facilities within local communities in every London borough.
Calvin Henry, Head Teacher of St Mark's CE Primary School, said: “The new facility, part-funded by the Football Foundation has transformed the sporting facilities available at the school and is going to make such a difference to the life of the school and the local community. The children have waited patiently for it to be built and are now so excited to be able to use it.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “It is so rewarding to see this new facility completed and ready for use by the local community. Alongside the London FA, St Mark’s School has worked extremely hard to ensure this project has come to fruition and deserve great credit for its endeavours.
“Thanks must go to our funding partners, the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England) for their crucial and generous financial support, without which none of this would be possible.”
For more information about the work the Football Foundation is doing all over the country visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FootballFoundtn.
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