Date published: 10/02/2015
Former Chelsea player and current Chelsea Academy coach, Jon Harley, was at Bridgemary School, Gosport, recently to officially open their new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP). The project was made possible thanks to a £355,397 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
Jon Harley, who made 41 appearances for Chelsea after graduating from the club’s youth system, cut the ribbon at the new pitch. The new 3G AGP will enable Bridgemary School to offer pupils, local grassroots clubs and the wider community a first-class facility which can be used all-year round. The pitch will also be used by the Chelsea FC Foundation during school holidays.
The poor quality of the real grass pitches at the school had meant that, for large parts of the year, they were unable to deliver PE lessons, host school fixtures or take bookings from local grassroots clubs.
Strong partnerships are already in place with Gosport FC, Gosport Borough Youth FC and Spartan Colts FC, who will regularly use the new 3G AGP for training and matches and they are all strongly committed to encouraging participation from both within their existing membership and from the recruitment of new members.
Bridgemary School worked in partnership with the Hampshire FA to secure a £355,397grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund 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 13,000 grants worth more than £513m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £730m – over £1.2bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 235 grants worth £10.4m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £24.3m across the whole of Hampshire.
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.
In addition to a £100,000 investment from the school, Bridgemary also received £150,000 from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities legacy fund towards the cost of the new 3G AGP. To date the fund has helped more than 1,600 local sports projects across the country.
Jon Harley commented: “It was a privilege to open the excellent new 3G pitch at Bridgemary School. The investment provided by the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, has enabled the school to offer a stunning facility for the local community to utilise all-year round.
“Chelsea will use this excellent new playing surface to deliver coaching schemes. Close links between the professional game and communities are crucial in helping to promote the next generation of talent and helping youngsters enjoy the benefits of physical activity and I’m delighted that the Chelsea FC Foundation will be able to carry out such work here in Gosport.”
Scott Sivier, Partnerships & Transition Manager, Bridgemary School, said: “I’d like to thank Chelsea FC Foundation for kindly supporting our grand opening and agreeing to allow Jon Harley to officially open this fantastic new facility. I’d also like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, as without their support the wider community of Gosport would not have this excellent facility. This state-of-the-art sports pitch will have a hugely positive impact on local grassroots sport and football development for many years to come.”
Sport England Property Director, Charles Johnston, said: “We know people have a better experience of sport when they have good facilities in which to play. The investment we have made both through the Football Foundation and our Inspired Facilities fund will ensure the sports clubs and local community of Gosport have access to a first-class sport facility for many years to come.
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added: “The Football Foundation is responsible for managing and delivering the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, via Sport England. This new 3G pitch is an example of the positive impact that this funding is having on our grassroots game. First-class facilities like this are crucial to creating more opportunities for local people to enjoy regular sport.
“Aided by the Hampshire FA, Bridgemary School deserves huge credit for taking a vision and turning it into a reality, using funding provided by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. Sport has the power to make a positive impact on the health of communities and this wonderful new facility will improve the sporting experience of local people and encourage them to be more active.”
For more information contact:
• Scott Sivier on 01329 319 966 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Bradley Cleveland on 0845 345 4555 Ext: 4282 or email@example.com