4 Jun 2021
The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP was on hand to officially open Monk’s Walk School’s new state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) recently. The project was made possible thanks to a £417,350 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
Grant Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield and Conservative Party Chairman, cut the ribbon at the new full-size 3G pitch which will be used extensively by the school, local community and partner clubs. The school already has a strong relationship with Welwyn Pegasus FC, with the club basing the majority of its match day and training activities at the site, and the new facility will enable the club to expand still further.
In addition to Welwyn Pegasus FC, Lemsford FC and Panshanger FC will also use the pitch for training and matches. In total, the three clubs run 35 teams and the new facility will allow them to create an extra 31 teams between them over the next five years. This means, there will be an increase of 600 people using the school site on a weekly basis to participate in football.
The club worked in partnership with the Hertfordshire FA to secure a £413,750 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
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 13,000 grants worth more than £510m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £719m – over £1.2bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 114 grants worth £16m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £8.7m across the whole of Hertfordshire.
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.
Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, commented: “It was a privilege to officially open the new 3G pitch at Monk’s Walk School. I know just how hard the school and members of the club have worked, alongside the Football Foundation and Hertfordshire FA, to turn the dream into a reality. This facility will be of tremendous benefit to students, local football clubs and community in the years ahead and I’d like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their significant investment into Welwyn Hatfield.”
Kate Smith, Headteacher, Monk’s Walk School, said “It is great to see our local MP, Rt Hon Grant Shapps, opening our new 3G pitch which we hope will truly become a community facility utilised by everyone, through the partnership between the school, Welwyn Pegasus FC and local primary schools. I’d like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their support in this endeavour and also Grant Shapps MP for taking time out to officially open the new facility.
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added: “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 new 3G pitch 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 Hertfordshire FA, Monk’s Walk School deserves huge credit for taking a vision and turning it into a reality, using 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.”
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