New all weather facility at John Henry Newman Catholic College expected to create 471 increase in participation

A state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) was officially opened by Charlie Fogarty MBE at John Henry Newman Catholic College recently (Thursday 12 July). The new facility was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant has enabled John Henry Newman Catholic College to install a new 3G AGP, which forms part of a strategic football hub site. Neighbouring CTC Kingshurst, who complete the football hub site, also previously received Football Foundation investment for a 3G AGP. 
The new pitch has been installed with floodlights, enabling increased capacity and availability of the college’s facilities thanks to it being usable during the evening. Not only will pupils at the college benefit from the facility, but also players from partner club Solihull Moors FC and its Open Age Disability team, which Charlie set up after suffering severe brain damage at 15, when he was hit by a car as he crossed the road. In addition to this, FA referee and coaching education will also take place at the new site. 
John Henry Newman Catholic College were awarded a £393,441 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The college worked alongside the Football Foundation and Birmingham County FA 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 new pitch is set to enable a growth from ten to 50 teams in junior and adult formats, with 22 new Under 14 teams for boys and girls. This will support a predicted increase of 660 players and is expected to result in a 471% increase in football participation on the site. 
Significant growth in the number of female players using the site is also expected, with 18 new women and girls’ teams. This has been identified as a key objective to deliver and will result in nearly 300 new female players using the facility. 
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 391 grants worth £21.2m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £49.4m across the whole of Birmingham. 
Matt Morgan, Strategic Director of Catholic Life at John Henry Newman Catholic College, said: “It is extremely apt that Charlie Fogarty MBE has opened this fabulous facility for us. His story of courage against diversity is an inspiration to both young and old. In turn this facility will enable children and young people, in one of the most deprived areas in the country, to find support and encouragement to tackle all that life throws at them. We are equally very grateful to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for enabling our community to feel valued and for investing in grassroots sport.” 
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am delighted that John Henry Newman Catholic College has now opened their state-of-the-art pitch in Birmingham, thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

“Continuing to improve access to high-quality facilities like this one is a key aim for the Premier League, The FA and the Government. Delivered by the Football Foundation, their funding supports projects for clubs and organisations all over the country and is helping to boost the number of people benefiting from sport through better facilities.

“Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities.”