England U21 Manager Stuart Pearce opens Devon college’s new £1.4M sports facilities

On Thursday (26 May) England U21 Manager, Stuart Pearce, helped local people in the Devon area to celebrate the opening of a new £1.4m sports facility at Paignton Community and Sports College.

The new facilities consist of a state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch, two dual gender changing rooms, two officials’ changing rooms, a kitchen, office space and meeting and coaching rooms.

The project was funded with the help of a £808,371 grant from the Football Foundation. Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government via Sport England, the Football Foundation is the nation’s largest sports charity. Launched in July 2000, the Foundation has so far supported around 8,000 community sports projects worth £947m.

Paignton Community and Sports College was the South West FA Charter Standard Sports College Winner in 2007 and a ‘hub site’ within the School Sport Partnership. The college’s standing in the local community meant it had the potential to provide grassroots opportunities to all the Primary and Secondary Schools within Torbay. However, the site was hampered by poor drainage which inevitably lead to unplayable surfaces.

With the help of the Foundation’s grant the college transformed their facilities into a state-of-the-art complex that will help enhance curriculum learning, provide coaching opportunities and enable other local schools and clubs to utilise the site far more extensively.

Rob Payne, Football Development Officer at Paignton Community and Sports College, said: “We have arrived at this stage after a huge amount of hard work by the college's project team. On behalf of the college and everyone involved with the new centre I would like to thank Stuart Pearce for opening the facilities, the Devon FA for their guidance and the Football Foundation their grant and continued support. Everyone here is extremely excited to start using the new facilities, they will allow us to offer the Devon area increased opportunities to play football.”

Jason Trevarthen Assistant Principal/Director of Sport at PCSC, said, “It is a real privilege to have football legend Stuart Pearce officially open our facility. The football development centre at Paignton Community Sports College has only been operational for a short time and it has already had a huge impact on local schools and the community. We have 48 adult teams playing in our small sided leagues, numerous community clubs using the centre, and it is a central venue for girls football.  It involves 300 young people in social inclusion on Friday nights and has a thriving coach and referee education programme with 86 qualifications gained to date.  I would like to thank the Football Foundation, Devon FA, Torbay LA, and the entire team at our Sports College who have helped to ensure this project became a reality.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We are delighted that Paignton Community and Sports College and the local community will have access to these fantastic new facilities. I commend the school and the Devon FA for their hard work in making this happen. A special thanks must also go to Stuart Pearce. It is really pleasing to see such a great former player helping support the grassroots game in the South West.”

“This is the latest example of the thousands of projects across the country that the Football Foundation has supported with money provided by our funding partners, the Premier League, The FA and Government. Since the Foundation was established in 2000, it has worked closely with the Devon FA to support 200 grass roots sports projects across the country with grants worth £8.6m. These grants have attracted further partnership funding of £8m that has gone directly into supporting grass roots projects across the country.”