[Skip to content]

Text size
Football Foundation
Search our Site
Funding Partners
*
Watford FC's Tom Cleverley impressed by smart new all-weather pitch for The Hemel Hempstead School

Watford FC’s Tom Cleverley impressed by smart new all-weather pitch for The Hemel Hempstead School

Date published: 07/03/2018
Watford FC’s Tom Cleverley impressed by smart new all-weather pitch for Hemel Hempstead School
The Hemel Hempstead School's youngsters were excited to welcome Tom Cleverley, who officially opened their new pitch with help from Watford FC Ladies' Charlotte Kerr.

Watford FC player Tom Cleverley was delighted to officially open a brand new all-weather pitch for The Hemel Hempstead School today (Tuesday 6 March). Tom was joined by Charlotte Kerr, Watford Ladies FC midfielder. The new facility was made possible by a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

Thanks to this funding, the school has been able to replace an existing grass pitch with a state-of-the-art floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP). This joins the school’s other grass pitch, changing pavilion and indoor sports facilities, and is helping to meet the local demand for all-weather football provision.

The new 3G AGP can be used all-year-round, allowing its users increased flexibility to schedule training and fixtures. This will benefit not only Hemel Hempstead School, but also its partner clubs, Hemel Aces FC and Hemel Hempstead Town Youth FC, who will use the new playing surface.

Watford FC’s Community Sports and Education Trust (CSET) will also take advantage of the facility for a number of community outreach programmes, including holiday camps. They will also deliver disability football sessions at the site, which will be linked to the Herts Inclusive League festivals.

The Hemel Hempstead School were awarded a £461,877 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The club worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Hertfordshire 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.

As a result of the new all-weather pitch, the school’s two partner clubs plan to introduce 29 new teams. This will take their combined total from 51 to 80, and will include Under-21 and adult teams. This supports an expected increase of 447% in overall sports participation for those over the age of 26.

Additionally, 11 brand new female sides will be established, with improving girls’ football provision being a key objective on-site. This, alongside the school’s plans to hold girls-only sessions, will result in an increase of 353% for female football participation across all ages at the new facility.

The partner clubs will also work to strengthen links with the school, to improve retention of players aged 14-19. Supported in this by Watford FC's CSET delivering recreational sessions, an increase in football participation for those aged 14-25 of 210% is predicted.

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 203 grants worth £10.8m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £19.4m across the whole of Hertfordshire.

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.

Tom Cleverley, Watford FC midfielder, said: “I’m flattered to have been invited to officially unveil The Hemel Hempstead School’s new all-weather pitch, which is obviously going to have such a great impact on developing the local game. Investment from the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, has played a large role in making this facility possible and I’d like to say a big well done to the school for securing the funding.

“I’m also really pleased that Watford FC’s CSET is going to be delivering sessions here. We as a club are committed to improving and developing opportunities for people through football, and grassroots sport is at the core of this. I’m sure that the Trust’s involvement here will make a big difference and I look forward to seeing both the school’s pupils and its local community benefiting from this.”

Charlotte Kerr, who has been with Watford Ladies FC since she was 14 years old, said: “I wish I had had access to a facility like this whilst I was at school! This new all-weather pitch for The Hemel Hempstead School is really fantastic and I’d like to thank them for inviting me to help open it. I’d also like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their investment and support of the project.

“It’s really important for us to keep developing grassroots football. Through the funding of the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England, the Football Foundation is making facilities like this a reality all over the country. I’m so pleased to hear that the new pitch will boost girls’ participation by 353%, because getting more girls involved in football from a young age can have such a positive effect on their lives – I know it has for me.”

Neil Deans, Head of Sport and Education for Watford FC’s CSET, said: “Watford FC’s Community Sport and Education Trust are delighted to have already established such a strong community partnership with The Hemel Hempstead School and have delivered a number of our core delivery projects using the new pitch. 

“Since November we have delivered six weeks of free introductory taster sessions for local children, established a new Player Development Centre for talented players aged seven to 16, started a PL girls' curriculum and after school sessions and launched our new school holiday programme in February Half Term. We will also be starting a girls-only Player Development Centre and PL BT Disability sessions after Easter, so we really see the school and the new pitch as a great opportunity to develop a new hub for the Trust in the South East of the County.”   

Sarah Lewis, Football Development Officer for The Hemel Hempstead School, said: “We are delighted to have the pitch officially open and see it being used by so many young players. The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled us to improve grassroots football and provide better facilities for the community. We have two Partner Clubs on-site benefiting from the brilliant facility and we have strengthened our partnership with Watford FC’s CSE Trust by offering weekly girls football sessions and working towards launching new inclusive sessions in 2018.”

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 Hemel Hempstead School join thousands of local clubs and organisations who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of a new all-weather pitch. I’d like to thank Tom Cleverley and Charlotte Kerr for 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, please contact:
- Sophie Huby on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292 or at sophie.huby@footballfoundation.org.uk
- Sarah Lewis on 01442 390 100 or at s.lewis@hemelschool.com


Share this page


Quote

“I’m also really pleased that Watford FC’s CSET is going to be delivering sessions here. We as a club are committed to improving and developing opportunities for people through football, and grassroots sport is at the core of this. I’m sure that the Trust’s involvement here will make a big difference and I look forward to seeing both the school’s pupils and its local community benefiting from this.”- Tom Cleverley, Watford FC midefielder

Top Corner

Top Corner is the official e-newsletter of the Football Foundation.

Each issue is packed with news and features from the grassroots of the game that we love.

Sign up to Top Corner today!