MARK CLEMMIT JOINS MIDDLESEX FA’S FIRST ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF NEW FACILITIES AT RECTORY PARK
TV presenter Mark Clemmit was in attendance as Middlesex County FA celebrated the first anniversary of the newly opened facilities at their Rectory Park headquarters in Northolt, Ealing recently (Thursday 12 September 2019).
The new facilities were made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and government’s Football Foundation.
After netting a £3,243,812 grant from the Football Foundation, work begun on the site in April 2017. The grant enabled Middlesex Football Association, who are the not-for-profit, governing body of football in the county, to move to a new sporting hub featuring two new floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitches (AGP), six team changing rooms, community rooms, a café and office space.
The new all-weather pitches have replaced grass pitches which were unable to meet the local playing demand, with matches often having to be postponed due to weather conditions during the harsh winter months.
The facilities at Rectory Park opened to the public in July 2018 and the significant investment has provided accessible year-round opportunities for local people of all ages to play football and benefit from physical activity.
Over the last year Middlesex FA have developed a competitive pricing structure and have enjoyed a successful first season. The site is being used by partner club London Eagles FC, as well as over twenty clubs locally including Celtic FC 1995 and Wealdstone Ladies FC, whilst the Capital Girls League is also based at the site.
Brentford FC Community Sports Trust uses the pitches to deliver a range of development opportunities, which includes BTEC Courses, Premier League Kicks sessions and community access groups based on estate involvement with recreational play activities for youth and adult participation. Emphasis on Rectory Park as a facility for the whole community to enjoy is also reflected in the different levels of football catered for, ranging from youth, female, disability and walking football.
Middlesex FA contributed to the funding of the project through the sale of its Roxborough Road headquarters, additional funding from Ealing Council and the London Marathon Trust also made this possible. The facilities at Rectory Park have already proven to be very versatile and in the past 12 months the site has been used for sports days, exercise classes, community groups and different formats of football.
TV presenter and broadcaster, Mark Clemmit, said: “It’s amazing and it changes the whole landscape around here. To have those two incredible pitches and all that space – it’s the epitome of what a football centre should be. It benefits the local football community and local residents, who can pop in for a cup of tea, come for a bite to eat or for some rest time. And maybe, even if they are not interested in football, they catch the football bug.”
Leigh O’Connor, Chief Executive of Middlesex FA, said: “We are delighted with our new facilities in Rectory Park and are proud to say this is the new home of Middlesex FA. The move not only signifies a new era for the Association but for Middlesex football as a whole and we’re confident that Rectory Park is already becoming one of the most well-known football hubs in the county. The facilities on offer are second to none and we’re incredibly excited to officially open our doors to clubs, coaches, players, spectators and the local community so that they can benefit from what’s on offer.
“Football hubs like ours aim to help local communities access high-quality pitches and get into football. Rectory Park is the first football hub of its kind to be funded by the Football Foundation in London and only the second in the country.”
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 the new facilities at Rectory Park in Middlesex and I am delighted for everyone associated with Middlesex FA.
“This is one example we want to make people in Middlesex aware of, that they have the kind of quality pitches and changing rooms that are taken for granted in other cities. 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 Middlesex 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.”