Former England goalkeeper, Nigel Martyn, has unveiled a new £350,000 sports pavilion at Rawdon Meadows in Bradford. The state-of the art facility was made possible by a £98,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and will provide a valuable sporting asset to the school and local community.

The previous changing pavilion at the site provided only two team changing rooms, and at over 40 years old had reached the end of its serviceable life. Also it was not in keeping with the three full-size grass pitches at the site, which are meticulously maintained by the neighbouring Woodhouse Grove School.

The grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Woodhouse Grove School, in partnership with Bradford Council, to demolish and replace this with a modern, state-of-the-art facility boasting: four team changing rooms; two officials’ changing rooms; a club room; kitchen and indoor archery range.

The redevelopment of this space has allowed the school to further enhance their extensive provision of outdoor activity, particularly in football and athletics. The new pavilion will be used regularly by the school and local community sports clubs including; Bronte Archers, Bradford City Women’s Football Club, and two local cricket teams.

The project has also included the re-routing of the current pedestrian footpath from Shipley to Leeds to optimise its riverside view.

The school and council worked in partnership with the West Riding FA to secure a £98,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the £350,000 project.

Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 12,000 grants worth more than £490m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £651m – over £1bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000 the Football Foundation funding partners’ investment has provided 196 grants worth £14.5m towards grassroots sports projects worth almost £30m across the whole of West Riding.

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.

Speaking at the event, Nigel Martyn said: “I am honoured to have been asked to open this fantastic new facility which has been made possible by the drive and determination of David Humphreys, Bradford Council and the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

“Rawdon Meadows has added to the fantastic sporting facilities available at Woodhouse Grove which has strengthened its position as one of the top independent schools in the North of England for sport. When I started my football career playing in a minor league in Cornwall we would have been delighted to have had such outstanding facilities and it is great to see grassroots football being played on these pitches and using these facilities today.”

David Humphreys, Headmaster at Woodhouse Grove School, said: “The provision of this substantial new sports pavilion is a visible sign to the whole community of the way the school works in partnership with the council and our local community to develop amateur and professional sport. The grant has allowed us to provide an enhanced modular building on the current Rawdon Meadows site which utilises our resources to provide and maintain a higher level of facility for community grassroots sports and school use.”

Sally Thackray, Chair of Bradford City Women’s Football Club is delighted to be part of the new development at Rawdon Meadows: “We have been playing at Rawdon Meadows for a number of years and the pitches have always been among the best in the area. The changing facilities did not meet the same standard and for many years we helped to campaign for better facilities.

“The new facilities are excellent, and we are now able to offer decent changing facilities in addition to well maintained pitches to our visiting opponents. The new facilities are the result of many years hard work campaigning and good team work to get the building designed and erected.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “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 outstanding changing pavilion 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.

“Aided by the West Riding FA, Bradford Council and Woodhouse Grove School deserve huge credit for taking a vision and turning it into a reality, using this 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.

“A sincere thanks to Nigel Martyn for making today extra special by showing his support for the grassroots game.”

Phil Barker, Assistant Director Sport and Leisure at City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, said: "The official opening of Rawdon Meadows is a groundbreaking partnership that marks a successful outcome of the Council working with Woodhouse Grove School, local football clubs and the Bronte Archers to secure the future of this great recreation ground.
 "It is an innovative way of working in terms of using community sports facilities that are improved and managed with a range of partners, a new pavilion and changing rooms have been provided by the capital funding partners of Woodhouse Grove School, The Football Foundation and the Council, which will provide excellent sport and recreational facilities to the local sports clubs and access to the wider community for many years to come."