Martin Glenn, CEO, The FA, was joined by Sue Hough MBE and Spencer Miles, CEO and President of Dorset FA, to open the new 3G pitch.
The FA’s CEO, Martin Glenn, was joined by Dorset FA’s President, Spencer Miles and CEO, Sue Hough, to officially open the local county association’s state-of-the-art £647,271 third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) recently (Friday 30 September 2016). The development was made possible thanks to a £467,271 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
The grant has enabled Dorset FA to replace their previous natural grass pitch, prone to waterlogging, with a brand new 3G AGP at their County Ground home. The Poole-based facility will be used all-year-round by a wide range of local grassroots clubs, including: Hamworthy United FC, Longfleet Youth FC and Poole Town Wessex FC. AFC Bournemouth Community Trust, the partner association of the south coast Premier League side, will also use the facility to deliver school holiday coaching camps.
Through this project, Dorset FA have worked in partnership with the Football Foundation to establish a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision for how sport will be played at the new facility – projected to raise female participation by over 40% and young adult (14-25) participation by 59%.
Disability provision represents a key focus of the FDP with the site supporting three new disability sides, three weekly mental health sessions, while also delivering The FA Coaching Disabled Footballers Course. The County Ground’s 3G AGP will offer a wide range of football formats to attract and retain new players, including facilities for 5v5, 11v11 and Walking Football.
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 more than £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 144 grants worth £3m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £6m across the whole of Dorset.
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.
Martin Glenn, CEO, The FA, said: “This excellent new facility is testimony to The FA’s commitment, through the Football Foundation to improving the volume and quality of facilities at the grassroots level of our national game. It is a facility for the entire community to benefit from.”
Robert Syms, MP for Poole, said: “The Dorset FA have done a great job getting the 3G pitch ready for use, and I really enjoyed helping open the new facility alongside Martin, Sue and Spencer. The County Ground represents a real hub for sport in the Poole community, so I am really pleased to see local provision rewarded for the fantastic work it does in supporting active and healthy lifestyles.
“The support of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has ensured that this project could take place, benefiting the huge number of players, coaches and officials who will use this fantastic facility for decades to come. It is especially encouraging to see disability and female participation boosted with AFC Bournemouth also involved through the delivery of its community-led programmes.”
Sue Hough, CEO, Dorset FA, said: “This new pitch is absolutely fantastic for Dorset’s football community. It is a world away from the natural grass pitch we had here previously, which simply could not sustain a 7 day a week provision of football.
“The new 3G is also floodlit, which means that games can continue long after the light has faded. Now we won’t have to worry about more than one game being played on a day or about the pitch being ruined through rain.
“It was wonderful that Martin was able to come down to open the facility. The investment made by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation, is improving the infrastructure of the grassroots game and in real terms this means that more people have access to quality football facilities.”
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 Dorset FA to build a new 3G AGP at the County Ground. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and a special thanks must go to Martin Glenn 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 Dorset 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.”
For more information, please contact:
- Sue Hough at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01202 688 274
- Michael Boniface at email@example.com or on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292