Date published: 23/09/2014
A £600,000 state-of-the-art third-generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (APG) was officially opened in Bedworth today, thanks to a £357,680 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
Bedworth United FC was awarded the funding to transform the Oval Stadium and install a full size floodlight 3G pitch - the first of its kind in the local area. This will allow the club to grow its existing teams – a first team, an under 18 side, a ladies team and 16 schoolboys teams of all ages - as well as meeting the football needs of the local community. Currently all local clubs have to travel to Nuneaton or Coventry to access these types of facilities.
The new pitch, which can be split into four sections for junior games and for training usage, will provide Bedworth United, associated clubs, local clubs and local schools with an all year round training facility and support the development of local coaches through the hosting of coaching courses.
Club Chairman and local businessman, Neill Rayson-Randle, who contributed the remainder of the funding as a gift to the local community, said: “After a lot of planning and dedication from the team, we now have this fantastic new pitch that will be of huge benefit to the local community. The new pitch will form the basis for a long term plan to turn the Oval into a stadium that the local community can be proud of.
“Our thanks must go to Hannah Buckley and the Birmingham FA team who have been most helpful with the planning application. Their guidance has been paramount in securing the grant. Thanks also to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council for their assistance with the planning consent and allowing a long term lease for the Oval to be granted.”
Minister for Sport, Helen Grant, said: “We want to encourage greater levels of sports participation across the country and we know that having the right facilities will only help achieve this. Thanks to the investment from the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund, Bedworth United FC is now home to a fantastic state-of-the-art third-generation artificial pitch which will benefit the local community for many years to come.”
Bedworth United has also benefitted from funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund, upgrading facilities for all those that use and play at the club. The club used the funding to improve and modernise their changing rooms, including new female and disabled changing rooms, showers and medical room as well as developing three unisex official changing rooms and a new treatment room.
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 Bedworth have access to a first-class sport facility for many years to come."
Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England, the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 12,000 grants worth more than £490m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £651m – over £1bn of investment into the grassroots game.
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.
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 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 Birmingham FA, Bedworth United 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.”
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