Cirencester Town FC delighted as new all weather pitch is unveiled

A state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) was officially opened in Gloucestershire recently (Sunday 27 August), thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. 

The grant has enabled Cirencester Town FC to replace a natural grass pitch at the Corinium Stadium sports hub with a new 3G AGP. The original grass pitch had been prone to waterlogging, meaning that training and fixtures were often postponed. The brand new all-weather playing surface will offer the club improved flexibility over scheduling training and matches, especially during the winter months. 

The new pitch, part of the community sports hub which also includes provision for junior and Mini-Soccer sessions, will be used by partner clubs Fairford & Lechlade FC and Cirencester Pilgrims FC; Stroud FC; Stratton YFC; South Cerney YFC and Ashton Keynes FC. The Gloucestershire FA will also work in partnership with Cirencester College to deliver coaching development, FA Skills and Just Play sessions. 

Cirencester Town FC worked alongside the Gloucestershire FA and the Football Foundation to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation. 

The club, currently playing in the Evo Stik Southern League West Division at Step 4, will introduce 10 brand new teams. This will aid the expected 73% boost in football participation at the site. This includes the development of Under-9, Under-12 and Under-14 girls’ teams, resulting in a 268% increase in female football participation at the facility across all ages. 

The club worked in partnership with the Gloucestershire FA to secure a £369,383 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. The club has previously received a total of £724,400 through the Football Foundation and sister organisation, the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, towards the upgrading of the Corinium Stadium. In 2002, the stadium was officially opened by Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman of the Premier League. 

Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England. It develops new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level. 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 – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game. 

Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 294 grants worth £16.2m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £44.5m across the whole of Gloucestershire. 

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. 

Roger Burden, Chairman of the Gloucestershire FA and Trustee of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that Cirencester Town FC have been able to install a brand new all-weather pitch. The Gloucestershire FA works hard to make football accessible to all in the area. This project is an excellent example of this work, as the pitch will boost participation at the site by 73%. This wouldn’t have been possible without a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. My congratulations go to the club for their hard work in securing this funding, and for making the project a success.” 

Scott Griffin, Football Secretary for Cirencester Town FC, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their support in helping us achieve our goal with a fantastic new pitch we are extremely proud of. The pitch will help grassroots football within the area, with teams being able to train and play games all year round. As a club, we can now offer more football than ever to our growing youth section, without having to turn players away due to a lack of playing surface – this is truly a fantastic opportunity for the whole community.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides the investment necessary to improve grassroots football facilities. So, I am delighted to see Cirencester Town FC join thousands of local clubs who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of a new all-weather pitch. 

“Having delivered over £1.4bn of grassroots sports infrastructure projects, the Football Foundation has developed a network of accessible, first-class facilities in areas they will have the greatest impact – thanks to money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England. 

“These facilities are more than places to play football at, these facilities are hubs of physical activity, the bedrock of local communities and ‘homes from home’ for so many who also use them as social outlets to learn new skills, gain work experience and other qualifications.”