West Ham United FC Vice-Chairman Karren Brady CBE, defender Reece Burke, and West Ham United Foundation Chief Executive, Joseph Lyons, officially unveiled West Ham United Foundation’s new all-weather pitch on Tuesday 21 February, thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The new state-of-the-art facility is projected to increase overall sports participation by 78% and will see 17 new teams created. It will be home to players from pre-school age through to the veterans of the walking football team whose oldest player is 84 years old. Teams based there will include West Ham Ladies FC, Canning Town FC, Royal Falcons FC and the West Ham Learning Foundation.
The new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) – which can be used all year-round, and throughout the winter weather – replaces a previous sand-based playing surface, and is complete with floodlights, perimeter fencing and a spectator viewing area.
West Ham United FC Captain, Mark Noble, threw his support behind the project. Talking about the new floodlit facility, he said: “I’m so impressed with the quality of this new all-weather pitch. Having played across all levels of the game, I know how important these types of facilities are in helping nurture good football, and importantly, reaching out to the local community.
“Having grown up locally, I enjoy a special connection with the area and have seen the massive impact that West Ham Foundation make in the local community. They deliver a huge number of programmes for men, women, junior and disabled players, using the power of football to really turn people’s lives around.
“I’m proud to captain my hometown team which has such a strong affinity with its community roots, and this all-weather pitch – a first-class grassroots facility – will allow the Foundation to extend their work even further. The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund have made all of this possible, and I’d like to thank them for their invaluable investment.”
West Ham United Foundation – the charitable arm of Premier League side West Ham United FC – will use the 3G AGP to deliver a wide range of social, educational and community-outreach programmes including Premier League Primary Stars, Premier League Kicks and inclusive disability sport.
As part of the project planning, West Ham United Foundation worked alongside the Football Foundation and Essex FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision for how sport will be played on-site.
Through this FDP, West Ham United Foundation will deliver three weekly sessions of Premier League Kicks – the Premier League’s 10-year-old flagship community programme, which uses the power of football and sport to inspire young people in some of the most high-need areas of the country.
Karren Brady CBE, West Ham United FC Vice-Chairman, said: “This is what football is all about, seeing players of all different ages and backgrounds enjoy themselves purely for the love of playing the sport. This new all-weather pitch will make a tremendous difference, helping youngsters across Beckton and beyond to adopt football as a real passion; a platform to make positive life choices and engage among the local community.
“These grassroots facilities are so vital in helping achieve this, providing safe and accessible sporting venues for people to stay healthy and enjoy their football. I’m delighted that the facility is now up and running thanks to our partnership with the Premier League and the generous financial support of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.”
Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman, Premier League, said: “This new all-weather pitch is a fantastic facility at which West Ham can grow and develop the already outstanding community work delivered by their Foundation.
“Beckton is sure to be a constant hub of activity and will allow people of all ages and abilities access to the club and its community programmes.
“Having a safe and modern space at which local people can socialise, stay fit and healthy, and forge a strong connection with the club, is fundamental to creating a sporting legacy for the area.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled West Ham United Foundation to build a new 3G pitch. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area, and I’d like to thank Baroness Brady CBE for officially opening the new facility.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.4bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.
“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This project in Beckton is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it and to stay healthy.”
For more information, please contact:
- Sarah Gooding on SGooding@westhamunited.co.uk
- Michael Boniface at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292
Notes to Editors:
The facility received a £436,397 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. It is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth nearly £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of £800m – over £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 396 grants worth £20.3m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £49.8m across the whole of Essex.
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.