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Newcastle United's Chancel Mbemba unveils upgraded all-weather pitch

Newcastle United’s Chancel Mbemba unveils upgraded all-weather pitch

Date published: 16/02/2018
Newcastle United’s Chancel Mbemba unveils upgraded all-weather pitch

Chancel Mbemba, Newcastle United FC defender, officially opened a state-of-the-art small-sided third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) for West Moor Residents Association yesterday (Thursday 15 February). The new facility was made possible in part thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. This is in addition to the West Moor Residents Association’s £23,014 investment in the project. 

Together with the Association’s contribution, the grant enabled West Moor Residents Association to replace the sand-based artificial grass pitch at the West Moor Community Centre with a brand new all-weather surface. The original playing surface was over ten years old and no longer fit for purpose, especially during wet weather.

The upgraded 3G AGP, which can be used all-year-round, will benefit a number of users including West Moor JFC, who use the Community Centre as their home base, West Moor Community Walking Football and Killingworth Town FC.  

Across the users, a number of different teams are able to take advantage of the improved playing surface. This includes a mixed Under-7 team, two girls’ Under-11 sides and a number of junior male teams ranging from the Under-8 to Under-14 levels. 

West Moor Residents Association worked alongside the Northumberland FA to secure a £9,863 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. 

West Moor Residents Association has been responsible for the running of the Community Centre since its opening ten years ago. The Committee of the Association recognised that the facility provided an affordable way to play football for local teams, the community and youth projects that take place at the Centre, hence their own investment in the project. The Association is delighted with the upgrade and are pleased to be able to offer a state-of-the-art facility to the local area. 

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 around 15,000 grants worth more than £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 180 grants worth £12.4m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £24.1m across the whole of Northumberland.

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.

Chancel Mbemba, who joined Premier League club Newcastle United FC in 2015, said: “I really enjoy seeing the positive effect of football, and I’d like to thank West Moor Residents Association for inviting me to open their great new facility. Being able to play on better surfaces will help people to play and train more effectively, so it’s great that this area now has access to a state-of-the-art pitch.

“It’s really important to keep improving the standard of grassroots football facilities, to help develop players and keep people interested in the game. The Premier League, alongside The FA and the Government, through Sport England, are investing in this all over the country and the upgraded 3G AGP for West Moor Community Centre is a great example of what this money is used for.”

Margaret Hind, Chairperson of West Moor Residents Association, said: “We would like to thank Chancel Mbemba and Newcastle United FC for coming along to open our refurbished pitch. We would also like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their support. Finally, I would like to thank the people of West Moor for trusting us to spend the Association’s money wisely. Without this investment, the pitch would have closed but we are happy to say that accessible sport is alive and kicking in West Moor.

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 West Moor Residents Association join thousands of local clubs who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of their upgraded 3G AGP. I would like to thank Chancel Mbemba for taking the time to officially unveiling it.

“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 contact:

• Sophie Huby on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292 or sophie.huby@footballfoundation.org.uk 

• Jayne Maxwell on 01912 161 005 or wmra@btconnect.com 



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“I really enjoy seeing the positive effect of football, and I’d like to thank West Moor Residents Association for inviting me to open their great new facility. Being able to play on better surfaces will help people to play and train more effectively, so it’s great that this area now has access to a state-of-the-art pitch. - Chancel Mbemba, Newcastle United FC defender

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