Date published: 22/09/2015
From left to right: John Shearing, Vice Chair Somerset FA, Annie Heatherson, Yeovil Town Ladies FC, Andrew Davis, Principal, Huish Episcopi Academy and Mike Best, Chair, Somerset District Council open the new pitch.
Annie Heatherson, a striker for Yeovil Town Ladies FC, officially opened Huish Episcopi Academy’s new £672,408 third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) recently (Friday 18 September). The project was made possible thanks to a £302,408 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, and provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
The new pitch, which also comprises a spectator viewing area and car park, will be used extensively by the school and wider community. Prior to this investment there were no 3G AGPs in the local area, and forecasts suggest that there will be an increase of 27 new teams across all areas of the game – Mini Soccer, youth, adult and disability teams - thanks to the pitch.
Two Charter Standard Development Clubs, Aller Park Rangers FC and Somerton Town FC will call the new pitch home, which sits alongside the impressive ‘Huish Leisure’ complex that includes a gym and swimming pool.
The school worked in partnership with the Somerset FA to secure a £302,408 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and also received a grant for £270,020 from South Somerset District Council.
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 13,000 grants worth more than £530m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £740m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 200 grants worth £9.6m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £22.4m across the whole of Somerset.
Annie Heatherson, Yeovil Town Ladies Football Club, said, “It was a privilege to open this fantastic 3G AGP at Huish Episcopi Academy. It is brilliant to see a development like this close to my club, Yeovil Town FC. It is very important to have facilities like this, not just to get people playing, but also to create well established home grown talent. This new 3G in Somerset will be used extensively by the pupils, local teams, feeder primary schools and the local community.
“This pitch is a great example of the work that the Football Foundation delivers thanks to funding from the Premier League, The FA and the Government through Sport England. I wish the school, and the local community, all the best for the future.”
Mr Davis, Principal of Huish Episcopi Academy, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce the opening of our new artificial grass pitch and would like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, along with South Somerset District Council and the Directors of Huish Episcopi Academy, for investing a significant amount of money into the sporting facilities at our Academy.
“This investment will not only greatly enhance the facilities for our own students throughout the day, but will also continue to build on the great work being done by Huish Leisure, out in our local community, to develop a wide range of sports, and particularly football, at grassroots level. I know that a wide range of local football teams have been very supportive of our bid and so they, along with our partner primary schools, will directly benefit from this investment and we look forward to welcoming them. Thanks must go to Annie Heatherson for opening this impressive new facility.”
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 Huish Episcopi Academy to construct a new 3G AGP. 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 Somerset 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.”
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