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Mark Francois MP impressed by Wickford school's future vision at 3G pitch unveiling

Mark Francois MP impressed by Wickford school’s future vision at 3G pitch unveiling

Date published: 05/10/2018
Mark Francois MP impressed by Wickford school’s future vision at 3G pitch unveiling
Mark Francois MP officially opens the new all-weather pitch at Beauchamps High School.

Mark Francois, MP for Wickford and Rayleigh, was on hand to officially unveil a new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Beauchamps High School recently (Friday 28September).

Their 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 has enabled Beauchamps High School to provide an excellent sporting facility which will benefit both the local community and students. The facility will allow a wide range of sporting activities to be delivered and support students in their personal development. The pitch has also helped the school to open the Beauchamps Football Academy for Sixth form students, directed by Danny Greaves, a former player and coach at Southend United FC and the son of Spurs and England legend Jimmy Greaves.

The new 3G AGP replaced an old hardstanding court area and part of an uneven school playing field which was proving to be a hindrance to both the enjoyment and overall development of students.

The benefits of the project will also be felt by two of the school’s grassroots partner clubs, Wickford Town Youth FC and Essex Royals FC. As the pitch has been installed with floodlights, both teams will have increased access to train and play matches, thanks to it being usable during the evening. With the two partner clubs boasting 62 teams between them, the site will become a hub for increased social cohesion and rising participation rates in physical activity.

At the entrance to the all-weather pitch, the school has mounted the Peace Field Declaration – a plaque presented to the school by the Managing Director of the National Children’s Alliance working in conjunction with the Peace Field Project. The plaque commemorates the First World War and is a symbol of peace and of the importance of fair play, and a reminder of how sport can transcend conflict and promote friendship.

Beauchamps High School were awarded a £370,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. Essex Council also made an investment of £50,000 from the 2012 Olympic legacy funding. The school worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Essex 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.

Across the five years, the school are targeting a large increase in the number of individuals accessing the site, with nearly 1,750 new users expected. This represents a 956% increase in overall participation.

It is also predicted that the biggest increase in new users will come from the Under-14 age category, where over 900 new users are anticipated across the five years. Significant growth in the number of females using the site is also expected, with 368 new female participants projected to regularly take part in football.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 379 grants worth £16m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £30m across the whole of Essex.

Matt Harper, Beauchamps High School Headteacher, said, “We would like to thank Mark Francois MP whole-heartedly for opening the facility for us and for being part of such a momentous occasion. We would also like to extend our thanks to the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund for the grant, without whose support the completion of this project would not have been possible.

“The opening of the 3G AGP pitch is an exciting and unique opportunity for both Beauchamps High School and the local community in general and we are thrilled to be at the heart of it. Grassroots sport plays such a pivotal role in local communities, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds and we look forward to our role at the heart of this.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am delighted that Beauchamps High School has now opened their state-of-the-art 3G AGP in Wickford, thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

“Continuing to improve access to high-quality facilities like this one is a key aim for the Premier League, The FA and the Government.
Delivered by the Football Foundation, their funding supports projects for clubs and organisations all over the country and is helping to boost the number of people benefiting from sport through better facilities.

“Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities.”

ENDS

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“The opening of the 3G AGP pitch is an exciting and unique opportunity for both Beauchamps High School and the local community in general and we are thrilled to be at the heart of it.” - Matt Harper, Beauchamps High School Headteacher

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