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Lord Pendry impressed by anticipated 277% increase in football participation at new all-weather facility in Dukinfield

Lord Pendry impressed by anticipated 277% increase in football participation at new all-weather facility in Dukinfield

Date published: 06/08/2018
Lord Pendry impressed by anticipated 277% increase in football participation at new all-weather facility in Dukinfield
Football Foundation President Lord Pendry (centre left), cuts the ribbon to the new facility at Astley Sports Village alongside Jonathan Reynolds MP (centre right).

More than 140 children attending a free Manchester City school holiday camp watched on as Lord Pendry, President of the Football Foundation and Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, opened a state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Astley Sports Village recently (Friday 3 August). The new facility was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant enabled AspirePlus Educational Trust, which manages Astley Sports Village, to install the all-weather pitch as part of a shared site with Astley Sports College. Students from the school and three partner football clubs, Dunkinfield Youth FC, Dunkinfield Tigers FC and AFC Stanley JFC, are all set to benefit from the new facility.

The new floodlit 3G AGP at Astley Sports Village enables increased capacity and availability of much-needed football specific facilities for the wider community to use. Additionally, the leisure centre can now utilise the available space on the existing sand-based AGP at the site for multi-sport usage.

Aspireplus Educational Trust were awarded a £487,227 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The organisation worked alongside the Football Foundation and Cheshire County 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.

Manchester City will use the site to deliver various community schemes as part of a Pro Club link with Astley Sports Village. The club will deliver free football sessions to engage more children in the community to get active.

The number of teams using the new pitch is set to soar from 41 to 149 teams in junior and adult formats, with 11 new open age male teams created. This will support a predicted increase of nearly 2,000 players and is expected to result in a 277% increase in football participation on the site.

Significant growth in the number of female players using the site is also expected, with 39 new female teams created across all age groups. This has been identified as a key objective to deliver and is expected to result in over 600 new female participants playing football.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 346 grants worth £12.3m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £23m across the whole of Cheshire.

Matthew Bowler, CEO of AspirePlus Educational Trust, said: "The AspirePlus Educational Trust is delighted to celebrate the official opening of the new 3G pitch. We would like to thank Mark Storie, Director of Astley Sports Village for his tenacious leadership during the period of development and all our partners for making this dream a reality, especially our pro club link, Manchester City. The 3G pitch is a superb facility which will allow our students and the wider community access to an outstanding facility to engage more people in sport.

Football Foundation President, Lord Pendry, said: “I would like to thank Astley Sports Village for inviting me to officially unveil their brand new all-weather pitch. The number of new players this site will attract is remarkable and it is fantastic to already see so many children enjoying playing football on this high-quality pitch.

“This facility will not only improve the training experience for the linked clubs and neighbouring schools, but will be of use to the local community as well. Grassroots sports has many benefits, and bringing communities together is just one of them.

“The Football Foundation works to improve grassroots sports in England through the investment of the Premier League, The FA and the Government. This new pitch at Astley Sports Village is an excellent example of how the Foundation uses this money to provide better sporting facilities.”

ENDS

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The 3G pitch is a superb facility which will allow our students and the wider community access to an outstanding facility to engage more people in sport.- Matthew Bowler, CEO of AspirePlus Educational Trust

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