Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, officially opened Haverhill Community Sports Association’s (HCSA) state-of-the-art £690,000 third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) recently (Saturday 3 September 2016). Cllr John Griffiths MBE and Cllr Julia Wakelam, Leader and Mayor of St Edmundsbury Council, were also in attendance.
The project was made possible thanks to a £321,450 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. This grant has enabled HSCA to build a brand new full-size 3G AGP, that will act as a key football hub for local clubs including: Haverhill Rovers FC, Hundon FC, Thurlow FC, Clare FC and Haverhill Borough FC – currently playing at Step 6 in the Eastern Counties League, First Division.
The project also received £47,899 from the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the largest funders of non-league football in the country. This grant has allowed HCSA to build a brand new 50-seat covered stand, a further terraced stand, turnstiles, pitch perimeter fencing and refreshment facilities. These developments have enabled HCSA to meet the requirements of the FA National Ground Grading Criteria.
Through this project, HCSA have worked in partnership with the Football Foundation and Suffolk FA to develop a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision for how sport will be played at the facility that is projected to increase on-site participation by 136%.
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 15,000 grants worth nearly £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of just under £800m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 162grants worth nearly £8m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £21m across the whole of Suffolk.
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.
Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, said: “I was absolutely delighted to open HCSA’s new fantastic 3G football pitch today, a state-of-the-art facility that will become a hub for sport in the local community. Good physical health is an integral part of our everyday lives and it is fantastic to see local provision being supported in its efforts to maintain this.
“This project is further proof of the fantastic work being put in to develop grassroots sport right across the country, with the Premier League & The Facilities Fund, alongside the FSIF, through the Premier League, enabling projects such as this one at HCSA to take place.
“I would like to thank the tremendous work of all those at the HCSA that has ensured the many schools, clubs and local associations of Haverhill and beyond, will be able to enjoy an outstanding community facility for many decades to come.”
Peter Betts, Facilities Manager and Football Development Officer for HCSA, said:“Much praise must go to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, FSIF and Suffolk FA for their support in ensuring this fantastic, community-led project has come to fruition.
“We identified a 3G pitch as key to the football community hub in Haverhill and this new facility will massively improve the playing experience of all involved, opening up opportunities to further grow participation.”
Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said:“The improvements to the 3G AGP here at Haverhill are fundamental in ensuring that the club meet the necessary Ground Grading Criteria – these improvements will help the club’s broader development in facilitating their progression up the football pyramid.
“Spectator experience and safety will be further improved, with these developments highlighting the continued investment of the Premier League to support and develop the national infrastructure of grassroots sport.”
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 Haverhill Community Sports Association to build a brand new 3G AGP. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and a special thanks must go to the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP for opening the new facility.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, 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 Haverhill 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 if it and to stay healthy.”
For more information, please contact:
- Peter Betts at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07539 229 114
- Michael Boniface at email@example.com or on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292