Nottinghamshire welcomes new £534,000 3G football pitch in major boost to local grassroots game

A state-of-the-art £533,827 facility was officially opened in Eastwood recently (Monday 25 July 2016), thanks to a £403,827 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.      

The grant has enabled Eastwood Community FC, whose first team currently play at Step 7 of the FA National League System, to replace their natural grass pitch with a brand new floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP).

These developments will enable the club to provide high quality training and competition facilities for its nine affiliated teams, its Mini-Soccer School, as well as its recently founded Academy system, which will support those undertaking higher education opportunities alongside their playing commitments.

The club worked in close partnership with the Football Foundation and Nottinghamshire FA to devise a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP), a long term vision that is projected to double the number of the club’s academy players and raise on site participation by 223%.  

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 14,000 grants worth more than £560m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £780m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 228grants worth £14m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £26m across the whole of Nottinghamshire.

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.

Jamie Bennett, Chairman, Eastwood Community Football Club, said: “We would like to thank Councillor Richard Jackson, Leader of the Broxtowe Borough Council and Brian Hambridge, Chairman of Nottinghamshire FA, for officially opening our new 3G pitch. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and Broxtowe Borough Council for their funding and support of the new pitch.

“The new 3G pitch will allow us to continue supporting grassroots football within the local community, providing outstanding facilities that can be played all year round. Over the last two seasons, we have had to cancel fixtures and turn players and teams away as we could not support the additional use on the old grass pitch.

“We have an ambitious Football Development Plan over the next five years to engage with our local and wider communities and to encourage and engage with grassroots football for people of all ages and abilities. It will be challenging, but we feel that we can now achieve our grassroots sport goals.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Eastwood Community FC to build a new 3G artificial grass pitch. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.

“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports. 

“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This latest project in Nottinghamshire is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it and to stay healthy.”