Footballers at Killingworth Young People’s Club (KYPC) no longer need to traipse around Northumberland for training and matches thanks to the opening of the club’s new full-size floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Amberley Park recently (Saturday 12 October).

The new pitch was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government's Football Foundation, as well as contributions from North Tyneside Council and KYPC.

After netting a £499,496 grant from the Football Foundation, work began at the site in June 2019. The new pitch will benefit players at KYPC as well as several local clubs and organisations including: Forest Hall Juniors, The Pinpoint Recruitment Football League, Amberley Primary School, Bailey Green Primary School and George Stephenson High School.

The addition of the all-weather pitch will ensure that KYPC’s players no longer have to travel between five different sites for training and matches. In addition to this, the pitch can be used all year round in any weather conditions, which will ensure games take place regularly and help to prevent the drop out of players that is usually triggered during the harsh winter months.

It is anticipated that the new 3G pitch will support nearly 1,700 people playing football at Amberley Playing Fields over the next five years. With focus on increasing female participation, the number of women and girls playing football is expected to grow from 180 to 456, which represents a 153% increase.

As a focal point in the community, KYPC has engaged with numerous partners to focus on the development of female and disability football. Northumberland County FA, Active North Tyneside and the Newcastle United Foundation will all assist in expanding these areas.

Councillor Sarah Day, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said: “I am always delighted when the council is able to support improvements to community sport facilities that promote increased physical activity. It is very clear that this is a facility that is run by a really engaged and thriving community group and every member of Killingworth Young People’s Club should feel very proud of how far they have come and the facilities that they have helped to develop.

“I am certain that this modern facility will go a long way towards helping the club to fulfil their long-term aspirations to grow and develop football at this site. And although it may appear to be for football and footballers only, I know the team who have been involved in its development see it as an asset to the whole community and for many other activities. Let’s spread the word and make sure that the facility is used to its best potential.”

Leigh Foreman, Chairman of KYPC, said: “I would like to thank councillor Sarah Day, Cabinet member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at North Tyneside Council for opening our facility.  KYPC is overjoyed at having this 3G pitch which will provide facilities that enable children, adults and local community members of all ages, abilities, gender and backgrounds to play football, all year round. Thanks to the funding from the Premier League, The FA and Government through the Football Foundation this new facility will help to improve grassroots participation at all ages.”

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 this new all-weather pitch in Northumberland and I am delighted for everyone associated with Killingworth Young People’s Club.

“This is one example we want to make people in Northumberland 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 Northumberland 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.”