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Barnsley Premier Leisure get local refs onside with new all-weather pitch

Barnsley Premier Leisure get local refs onside with new all-weather pitch

Date published: 13/03/2018
Barnsley Premier Leisure get local refs onside with new all-weather pitch
Premier League assistant referee, Scott Ledger (centre, rear) and Football League referee Darren England (second from right) were delighted to see Barnsley Premier Leisure's all-weather pitch officially opened by Cllr. Sir Stephen Houghton CBE (centre left). Stephen Lodge, former Premier League referee, was also in attendance.

Local man Scott Ledger, Premier League assistant referee, was joined by Darren England, Football League referee, Stephen Lodge, former Premier League referee and Barnsley Premier Leisure (BPL) Company Secretary, as well as Cllr. Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, to open a new all-weather pitch for BPL recently (Friday 9 March). The facility was made possible by a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant enabled BPL, on behalf of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, to replace the existing sand-based artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre, decommissioned in 2012 due to its poor condition, with a new third generation (3G) AGP and spectator area. Named for the Olympic medallist sprinter Dorothy Hyman, who was a guest of honour at the opening, the Centre’s other sports facilities also include three full-size grass pitches and numerous athletics facilities.

The new all-weather pitch can support 11v11, 9v9, 7v7 and 5v5 play and can be used all-year-round. This will benefit BPL’s partner clubs, Pinfold Pumas FC and Darfield JFC, who will both use the new pitch as a home base for training and matches.

Previously, the two clubs used the grass pitches at the Sports Centre, but the new all-weather playing surface will allow them to develop and grow further. Local users Churchfield Primary School and Team Activ will also be able to take advantage of the new facility.   

It is expected that the new pitch will become a hub site for Barnsley FC’s Reds in the Community, the charity arm of Barnsley FC. They will deliver a number of community outreach programmes at the state-of-the-art facility, including Premier League Kicks for local young people and walking football sessions for older people.

BPL, through Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, were awarded a £361,598 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. BPL worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.

Previously, six teams from across BPL’s partner clubs were using the site. Thanks to the new facility, this number is expected to increase to 35, supporting a predicted increase in overall football participation of 233%. Seven of these new sides will be female and it is hoped that the site will become a local hub for girls’ football. A 686% boost in female football participation is expected.

In addition, the new all-weather pitch will become a venue for a local adult flexi-league. Along with plans for one male and one female open-age team, plus two male and one female open-age disability sides, this is expected to increase football participation for those over the age of 26 by 425%.

Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England. It develops new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded over 17,000 grants worth more than £615m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of £817m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 329 grants worth £12m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £25.7m across the whole of Sheffield and Hallamshire.

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.

Scott Ledger, Premier League assistant referee, said: “Living locally, I know the impact that football has on our area and the good it can do for people. I am delighted to be joined by Darren and Stephen in officially opening this new all-weather pitch for the community, and I’d like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for its investment in this fantastic project.”

Tim Wilson, Chief Executive for BPL and Val Mills, Chair of Trustees for BPL, said: “We would like to thank Scott, Stephen, Darren and Sir Stephen Houghton for opening this amazing facility and attending such a great day. It was great to see so many young people enjoying the new football facilities. The development is a great addition to Cudworth and the surrounding areas. The facility will enable grassroots football to continue to grow within Barnsley. The funding from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and Barnsley Council has enabled this to happen.”

Cllr Roy Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place, said: “It’s exciting news that the new state-of-the-art 3G pitch is now complete. It will be a great addition to the fantastic facilities already available at the Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre.

“Together with partners like BPL we’re working hard to help people achieve their potential to be healthier, happier and active. The new pitch will not only support the council’s Play Pitch strategy but also provide more opportunities for local people to get involved in sport and active recreation.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides the investment necessary to improve grassroots football facilities. So, I am delighted to see Barnsley Premier Leisure and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council join thousands of local clubs and organisations who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of their all-weather pitch. I'd like to thank Scott, Stephen, Darren and Sir Stephen Houghton for officially opening the facility. 

“Having delivered over £1.4bn of grassroots sports infrastructure projects, the Football Foundation has developed a network of accessible, first-class facilities in areas they will have the greatest impact – thanks to money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England. 

“These facilities are more than places to play football at, these facilities are hubs of physical activity, the bedrock of local communities and ‘homes from home’ for so many who also use them as social outlets to learn new skills, gain work experience and other qualifications.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact:
- Sophie Huby on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292 or at sophie.huby@footballfoundation.org.uk
- Joni Millthorpe on 01226 327 410 or joni.millthorpe@bpl.org.uk 


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“Living locally, I know the impact that football has on our area and the good it can do for people. I am delighted to be joined by Darren and Stephen in officially opening this new all-weather pitch for the community, and I’d like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for its investment in this fantastic project.”- Scott Ledger, Premier League assistant referee

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