Date published: 07/11/2013
John Spence Community High School are celebrating the news that they will receive over £242,000 towards the refurbishment of their artificial grass pitch (AGP) from the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity, which will be a substantial support for grassroots football development in North Tyneside.
The existing AGP was laid in 1996 and nearing the end of its useful life, jeopardising the school’s PE provision and use of the site for community football. The funding will allow the school to upgrade to a safer and more user-friendly third generation (3G) playing surface. This will complement the four changing rooms on the site that were funded by a £250,000 grant from the Football Foundation, awarded to North Tyneside Council in 2004.
The importance of the site for junior and adult grassroots football was highlighted within the local authority’s 2012 Playing Pitch Strategy, and the project will provide the final full-sized 3G AGP required in North Tyneside, based on the results of the mapping process conducted by The FA and Northumberland FA.
The upgrade will not only provide state-of-the-art training and playing facilities for the school, but will also significantly benefit their partner club, North Shields Juniors AFC – one of the largest FA Charter Standard Community Clubs in the region, with an impressive membership of over 900 young people.
John Spence High School already provides a home ground for several of North Shields Juniors AFC’s 36 teams and the availability of the school’s natural turf pitches and full-sized sand-filled AGP have been integral to its success and growth to date. Supported by the new facilities, the Club has ambitions to reach a total of 48 teams in the next five years, including an expansion of their girls’ section and introduction of a disability team.
Funded with £6m each year from the Premier League and delivered by the Football Foundation, the FSIF is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.
John Spence Community High School worked in partnership with the Northumberland FA to secure £242,536 from the Football Foundation towards the £324,536 project. Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 9,500 grants worth more than £410m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £560m. Across the whole of Northumberland, the Foundation has awarded 78 grants worth almost £10m towards grassroots sports projects worth nearly £20m.
Jim Stephenson, Head Teacher at John Spence Community High School, said: “I am overjoyed that our funding request to the Football Foundation has been successful. The new playing facilities will enable members of the local community to enjoy football activities for the foreseeable future.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a Football Foundation grant of £242,536 will enable John Spence Community High School to make these refurbishments. In partnership with the Northumberland FA, the school has worked extremely hard to secure this funding from the Football Foundation.”
“Since 2000 our funding partners, the Premier League, The FA and the Government (via Sport England), have generously provided the investment to improve facilities throughout the country, just like this one in North Shields.”
For more information about the work the Football Foundation is doing all over the country visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FootballFoundtn.
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