Diana Johnson, MP for Kingston upon Hull North, officially opened Hull College’s Steve Prescott Sports Centre (Friday 13 January 2017), named after the former Hull FC and St Helens RFC star, which includes a new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP). The new all-weather pitch was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
Nominated the City of Culture for 2017, Hull has welcomed the new grassroots hub, facilities of which include multi-purpose sports halls, basketball, badminton, tennis and netball courts, natural grass football pitches, a five-a-side pitch and a floodlit 3G AGP.
The new 3G pitch replaces a previous sand-based surface and will be used all-year-round by Hull College’s 28,000 students and a number of local grassroots clubs, including Queens County AFC and Hull United FC.
The Tigers Trust, the charitable arm of Hull City AFC, will also use the new all-weather pitch to deliver Premier League Kicks – the Premier League’s ten-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.
During the planning process, Hull College worked alongside the Football Foundation and East Riding FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision for how sport will be played at the new facility – projected to raise Hull United FC’s number of teams from 16 to 35.
The project was made possible thanks to a £337,516 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. Hull College also invested £100,000 into the works.
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 just under £800m – over £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 194 grants worth nearly £10m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £44m across the whole of the East Riding region.
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.
Diana Johnson, MP for Kingston upon Hull North, said: “I was delighted to help open Hull College’s Steve Prescott Sports Centre. The new facilities really are tremendous, and they will provide a fantastic home for sportspeople of all levels for decades to come.
“The new all-weather pitch will be used by a huge number of students and community groups, helping local residents of all ages to become physically active and to enjoy their sport.
“These grassroots facilities are so integral to the broader community and I’d like to thank the college for all their hard work they have put in, and importantly too, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their invaluable financial support.”
Gary Warke, Hull College Group Chief Executive, said: “The opening of the Steve Prescott Centre will greatly enhance the College’s sports provision and facilities and provide the best possible environment in which to study sport from September 2017.
“The centre will also benefit the local community and is set to cater for a range of clubs and groups as well as casual users and alumni members. We’re very grateful to Diana Johnson MP for officially opening the centre and the support of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.”
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 Hull College to build a new 3G pitch, as part of the new Steve Prescott Sports Centre. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and a special thanks must go to Diana Johnson MP for opening this 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 latest project in Hull 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.”
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