Date published: 30/03/2016
On Wednesday 9 March Sir Dave Richards joined Sheffield Wednesday footballers, Fernando Forestieri and Modou Sougou, and the captain of the Sheffield Sharks basketball team, Mike Tuck, to officially open Valley Park primary school’s new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP), which was donated to the school, for free, by SIS Pitches after the Football Foundation sought their help on a pro bono project.
Fernando, Modou and Mike stopped by during a school PE lesson and could not resist joining in with the pupils! Fernando took part in a passing drill, while Modou took great delight in helping the budding young footballers improve their shooting skills.
Towering 6’7” Canadian basketball star Mike wowed some of the school’s 450 children, who speak more than 20 different languages between them, with his ball juggling skills and gave tips on how to keep the ball spinning on one finger!
The new pitch, which sits at the centre of the school’s playground, has a striking red and yellow colouring, a design which was chosen by the school’s pupils. The school’s children are now benefitting from increased numbers of PE and extra-curricular sessions in a range of sports, including football. With 450 pupils and up to 20 languages spoken at the school
SIS Pitches – who design, manufacture and build sports surfaces for a wide range of sporting venues, from international stadiums to community projects – were approached by the Football Foundation to help the school, which is in one of the city’s areas of high deprivation, as a pro bono project.
SIS Pitches are part of a joint Framework Agreement, which was developed by the Football Foundation, The FA, Rugby Football Union, England Hockey and Sport England to ensure that the procurement, manufacture and installation of new 3G AGPs always represents the best value-for-money and quality.
George Mullan, Chief Executive, SIS Pitches, said: “When we were approached by the Football Foundation to see if we could help the school in some way we were only too delighted to oblige. The finished article is something that SIS Pitches, the school and the Football Foundation can all be really proud of. It says a great deal about the quality of the facility that we were able to attract some of the area’s best known sports personalities to open it and thanks to them for doing so. I know that the school are already getting an incredible amount of usage out if it and that will continue long into the future.”
Michele Nott, Head Teacher, Valley Park primary school, said: “Sport is such a big part of any child’s life and the previous facility we had was just not up to scratch. So credit must go to SIS Pitches, and the Football Foundation, because without their generosity we definitely would not have been able to buy a pitch of this quality. A special thanks must also go to Sir Dave, Fernando, Modou and Mike for taking time out to open the pitch.”
Sir Dave Richards, a former Sheffield Wednesday Chairman, said: “The pitch at Valley Park is just fantastic and it was wonderful to see so many youngsters enjoying playing with Fernando, Modou and Mike. As a Sheffield man I know how much sport means to people in this neck of the woods, so special thanks must go to SIS Pitches and the Football Foundation for making this happen.”
Fernando Foresteri, said: “The pitch is brilliant! The kids were telling me that they want to play on it all the time and their teacher said that the school can now put on lots of after school activities too, so it is obvious that the pitch will have a really positive impact on the sport at Valley Park. To think that they got it for free from SIS Pitches is just amazing – well done to them and the Football Foundation.”
Mike Tuck, said: “It was a real pleasure to help open Valley Park’s new pitch with Sir Dave, Fernando and Modou. This pitch is so flexible, we were playing football and basketball on it and you could see that the kids absolutely loved it – hopefully there are a few future Sharks’ players amongst them! I know that the school got the pitch for free from SIS Pitches and the Football Foundation, which is a wonderful gesture and I’m in no doubt that the students will make great use of it.”
Dave McDermott, Chief Operating Officer at the Football Foundation, said: “Valley Park’s new pitch is an absolutely fantastic resource for the school, and I would like to thank SIS Pitches for donating and installing the pitch for free. The facility is already proving hugely popular as Fernando, Modou, Mike and Sir Dave could all see.”
“The AGP Framework Agreement is a way of maintaining the high standards that the Football Foundation, and its partners, have and of helping to drive economy and efficiency for anyone who receives one of these 3G AGPs. All the suppliers that are part of the Agreement, like SIS pitches, have been handpicked because of their expertise in delivering first class facilities. I am optimistic that, following SIS Pitches’ efforts, that the other Framework Suppliers may also consider similar pro bono work in the future.”