Date published: 26/11/2014
Former Southampton FC and England attacking midfielder Matt Le Tissier was at The Mountbatten School in Romsey, Hampshire, yesterday to officially open a new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP). The project was made possible thanks to a £312,294 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
Le Tissier, who made 540 appearances and scored 209 goals for Southampton FC, opened the new 3G AGP, which will allow The Mountbatten School to provide pupils and members of the local community with a safe and secure environment to participate in sport all year round. The floodlit pitch will be used by the school to deliver PE sessions and extra-curricular activity. The Mountbatten School will aim to offer competitive football opportunities to all children, irrespective of ability, and enable pupils to reach their full potential in football and guide talented individuals into appropriate club and coaching settings.
Prior to this development, local partner clubs Romsey Town Youth FC, Baddesley Park Youth FC and Braishfield Bees FC, had been struggling with the availability of grass pitches and were often forced to train and play in neighbouring boroughs as a result. However, thanks to the new 3G AGP, the clubs will now all be able to return to Romsey. All three clubs are committed to encouraging participation from within their existing membership and from the recruitment of new members. This will see an increase in teams from 39 to 48 over the next five years.
The school worked in partnership with the Hampshire FA to secure a £312,294 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. The Mountbatten School also provided £246,219 towards the project.
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 £510m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £719m – over £1.2bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 230 grants worth £10.5m 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.
Matt Le Tissier, commented: “Much of Southampton FC’s recent success has been due to talented, young, home-grown players progressing from the Academy into the First Team, and this is why I’m so pleased to open this excellent new facility right here on the South Coast. High-quality playing surfaces are vitally important in aiding the technical development of young players and now pupils at The Mountbatten School and local clubs will be able to reap the benefits.
“It’s great to see money from the top of the professional game, through the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, being invested into the grassroots and with facilities like these, I’m sure we’ll see Southampton produce many more stars of the future.”
Heather McIlroy, Executive Headteacher, The Mountbatten School , said: “We were delighted that Matt Le Tissier was able to find a slot in his busy diary to open this wonderful facility. Our Mountbatten students, and all local primary school children are now able to enjoy year round sporting opportunities. The football clubs in our local and wider communities also have a state-of-the-art pitch at their disposal and we hope that this will encourage the growth of grassroots sport in the area. We would like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, along with the Football Foundation.”
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. I’d also like to thank Matt Le Tissier for taking time out to officially open the new pitch.”
“Aided by the Hampshire FA, The Mountbatten 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:
- Lara Simpson on 01794 510 267 or Lara.Simpson@mountbatten.hants.sch.uk
- Bradley Cleveland on 0845 345 4555 Ext: 4282 or email@example.com