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Sky Sports' Geoff Shreeves joined by Harry Winks and former Gunner Smith to unveil new all-weather pitch

Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves joined by Harry Winks and former Gunner Smith to unveil new all-weather pitch

Date published: 24/11/2017
Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves joined by Harry Winks and former Gunner Smith to unveil new all-weather pitch

Geoff Shreeves, Sky Sports presenter, was joined by former England and Arsenal FC striker, Alan Smith, and Tottenham Hotspur FC midfielder, Harry Winks, to officially open a state-of-the-art all-weather pitch for Hadley Wood Sports Trust yesterday (Thursday 23 November). The new facility was made possible by a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. 

The funding has enabled the Trust to replace an existing grass pitch at their site with a brand new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP). This new 3G AGP is helping to address the high levels of demand for all-weather surfaces in the local area. It will benefit the Trust’s partner clubs Hadley Wood and Wingate Youth FC, Wingate and Finchley FC and Omonia Youth FC. 

Hadley Wood Sports Trust worked alongside the Middlesex FA and the Football Foundation 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. 

Thanks to the much greater scheduling flexibility that the new pitch will give users, due to it being available all-year-round and in any weather, the partner clubs hope to introduce a number of new teams. Wingate and Finchley FC expect to re-establish their ladies team and start a new disability team as a result of the new 3G AGP, which joins the site's other grass pitch and new changing pavilion. 

Additionally, Omonia Youth FC and Hadley Wood and Wingate Youth FC plan to introduce five new teams apiece. This will increase their combined total from 40 to 50 – all of which will use the site for training and fixtures. 

The club worked in partnership with the Middlesex FA to secure a £513,352 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. 

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 231 grants worth £18.4m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £69.4m across the whole of Middlesex

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. 

Geoff Shreeves, Sky Sports presenter, said: “I was honoured to unveil Hadley Wood Sport Trust’s brand new all-weather pitch. Having spent so much of my career involved in football, I know that this will be of great benefit to the many local clubs that will use the new facility. 

“I am aware of the great effort made by partner club Wingate and Finchley FC to provide opportunities for youth development. Such a facility will only further this development. In today's football environment, a club at this level of the football pyramid provides many players a better route into the professional game. 

“It’s always great to see money being invested in the grassroots game, and it’s clear that the Premier League, The FA and the Government are at the forefront of this. Their funding is being delivered by the Football Foundation, in the form of facilities like this state-of-the-art 3G AGP, across the country.” 

Alan Smith, who scored 115 goals for Arsenal FC during his time there, said: “It’s fantastic to see this new facility open, and I feel privileged to have been asked to help unveil it. I’m sure that this new all-weather pitch will be of real benefit to the local community, because having access to something like this really encourages people to get involved in the game. Credit to everyone who helped make it possible.”

Harry Winks, Tottenham Hotspur FC midfielder, said: “This new pitch is obviously going to have a great effect on the amount and quality of football played here. Local grassroots clubs are really lucky to get access to this! I’ve played on some great surfaces, so I know what a difference this can make to your game. I’m so pleased to see money from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund being used to deliver facilities like this.”

Peter Renkin, Trustee of Hadley Wood Sports Trust, said: “The Trustees are appreciative for all funding partners, including the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, Sport England and The London Marathon Trust, and volunteers and partner clubs who have helped to launch this fantastic facility that will allow the Trust to increase participation in the area and provide football to the local community.” 

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 Hadley Wood Sports Trust join thousands of local clubs and organisations who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of a new all-weather pitch.  My thanks go to Geoff Shreeves, Harry Winks and Alan Smith for officially unveiling the new 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:
- David Thrilling on 07977 007 746 or at secretary@wingatefinchley.com 
- Sophie Huby on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292 or at sophie.huby@footballfoundation.org.uk


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"I was honoured to unveil Hadley Wood Sport Trust’s brand new all-weather pitch. Having spent so much of my career involved in football, I know that this will be of great benefit to the many local clubs that will use the new facility."- Geoff Shreeves, Sky Sports presenter

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