Football Foundation Ambassador, Chris Powell, believes around-the-clock access to new all-weather playing facilities will help develop students at Mulgrave Primary School both on and off the pitch.

Powell, who made over 200 league appearances for Charlton, officially opened the new 38m x 24m floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Mulgrave School in Woolwich recently (Tuesday 9 July).

After netting a £94,701 grant from the Football Foundation, work begun on the site in April 2019. The new 3G pitch replaces a macadam playground, giving students at the school a safer facility which can be used all year round in any weather conditions to play a wide range of sports and games.

Having been identified as a high priority site by London FA, the 3G pitch will provide a suitable playing area for Mulgrave School, Greenwich Public Health and Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency to engage with the community and promote sport.

The pitch will also be available to community groups during the evening and weekends, which will support London FA’s objectives to increase football provision in the local area. It is anticipated that over 1,200 people will start playing football at the site over the next five years, representing a 2,180% growth. The formation of 12 new female teams will support an additional 180 girls and women playing competitive football during this time frame. 

Chris Powell at The Football Foundation

Chris powell the football foundation

Martha Holder, Headteacher at Mulgrave Primary School, said: “I am so excited that our school and the local community now have a brand new 3G pitch courtesy of the Football Foundation. We would never have been able to afford this without their generous funding of £94,701.

“Our children at Mulgrave Primary School could not believe their eyes when they walked into the playground after the Easter holiday to see a fully installed 3G pitch ready and waiting for them, belonging to them.  The new pitch continues to create such a buzz around the school with parents, children, staff and visitors. We have already had lots of enquiries into letting the pitch from the local community. 

“A direct impact of the new 3G pitch has been the increase of P.E. taught to children across the school.  All classes now have an additional P.E. lesson at lunch time taught by a professional coach.

“We know that rigorous exercise is an important part of education here at Mulgrave school.  By having this 3G pitch we are able to increase the engagement and amount of time children take part in physical education throughout the year; hopefully giving them a lifelong love of sports and ensuring they keep healthy throughout their lifetime.” 

Football Foundation Ambassador, Chris Powell, said: “I’m so pleased to come back, it’s an area I know well from my playing and managerial days and I’m honoured to open this new pitch at Mulgrave. You’ve got to engage with the community and having a safe place to play sport and somewhere people can come together regardless of their background is vitally important.

“Football encourages teamwork and the health benefits are obvious for both the children at the school and men and women in the community. I hope we can get more pitches at many more areas like this in South East London and across the whole country.

“I wish I had a pitch like this at primary school, I remember playing on hard concrete which wasn’t ideal, but we still played. Nothing beats having a 3G pitch where regardless of the weather you can come and play, and I really hope that the boys and girls get to use this every day and during the school holidays.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The support of the Premier League, The FA and Government enables the Football Foundation to help improve community sports facilities like this one across the country. Their funding has played a key role in delivering this new all-weather pitch in Greenwich and I am delighted for everyone associated with Mulgrave Primary School.

“This is one example we want to make people in Greenwich aware of, that they have the kind of quality pitches and changing rooms that are taken for granted in other Boroughs. We will continue to support projects nationwide, but we cannot do this on our own, so we are encouraging organisations in the area to join our movement to deliver quality football facilities for people in Greenwich once and for all.

“Taking part in community sport at any level offers many benefits and rewards, not least the opportunity for people to enjoy themselves and socialise with different members of the community.”