New 3G Pitch To Support 254% Growth In Under-14 Football Participation At School In Bradford
New 3G pitch to support 254% growth in Under-14 football participation at school in Bradford
A fully refurbished third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) was officially opened at Southfield Grange Trust recently (Sunday 16 September). 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 Southfield Grange Trust to overhaul their existing sand-based AGP to create a 101m x 63m floodlit AGP. On top of this, floodlighting and improved fencing has been added to their existing 73m x 47m 3G AGP on the school’s site.
The new floodlights to the 73m x 47m 3G AGP enables increased capacity and availability of the school’s facilities thanks to it being usable during the evening. Not only will pupils at the school benefit from the facility, but also players from partner clubs, Bradford City FC, Wyke Wanderers JFC, Campion AFC and St Bedes Old Boys FC.
As well as the partner clubs, a whole host of teams in the local area will use the site for training and matches. Bradford Park Avenue FC, One in a Million Charity, Phoenix Juniors FC, Shelf JFC, West Bowling ARLFC, Bradford Disability FC and the West Riding County FA are among the clubs and organisations who will play at the Grange.
As part of a pro-club link with the Trust, Bradford City will use the refurbished facilities to host their development academies there. In addition to this, Bradford City Community Foundation will use the site to deliver inclusion sessions and to engage with local people.
Southfield Grange Trust were awarded a £312,837 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The school worked alongside the Football Foundation and the West Riding 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.
The number of teams using the new pitch is set to soar from 25 to 84 teams in junior and adult formats, with four new open age male teams created. This will support a predicted increase of nearly 700 players and is expected to result in a 177% increase in football participation on the site.
Significant growth in the number of Under-14 footballers using the site is also expected. This has been identified as a key objective to deliver and is expected to result in over 500 new players, which represents a 254% growth within this demographic.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 540 grants worth £19.9m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £39.4m across the whole of West Riding.
Darren Vidamour, Centre Manager, the Southfield Grange Trust, said: “On behalf of the trust I would like to thank The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for providing the necessary funding, support and professional advice to enable us to replace a tired and outdated 2G pitch with a FIFA Accredited 3G pitch which a whole host of local clubs both amateur and professional can use.
“Not only will the students and staff greatly benefit but also the surrounding community. The various clubs that are using the facility have provided us with fantastic feedback and we are very proud to offer such a fantastic facility in an area that really did need the investment!”
Danny Burke, Club Secretary, St Bedes Old Boys FC, said: “The acquisition of the Southfield Grange 3G pitches has been transformational for our club. Prior to us having the facilities at Grange, we were struggling to attract quality players, and our aspiration of setting up an Academy was a distant dream.
“The pitch has given us a fantastic base for training, our opponents look forward to the Bedes home games and the players are proud of their home ground. The use of the pitch over the summer has allowed us to maintain training all season, and we’ve been able to host friendly matches and trials for our new Academy. With more facilities like this, local football would see an upward trend in participation.”
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 The Southfield Grange Trust has now opened their state-of-the-art 3G Pitch in Bradford, 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.”