Sir Oliver Heald MP cuts ribbon at new Hertfordshire community pavilion
Sir Oliver Heald QC MP officially opened a new £153,000 community changing room pavilion at Barkway Recreation Ground recently. The project was made possible thanks to a £59,779 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
Sir Oliver Heald QC, MP for North East Hertfordshire, and Peter King, Chief Executive of Hertfordshire FA, helped cut the ribbon at the new pavilion, which replaces the previous 50-year-old facility that was in a state of disrepair and no longer fit for purpose. The grant has enabled Barkway Parish Council to construct two dual-gender changing rooms, officials’ accommodation, large clubroom and kitchen, accessible toilets and plant storage.
There is a high demand for football in the area and Royston Town FC’s youth section, 22 boys’ and girls’ junior teams in total, will play the majority of their home fixtures at the site. Local community groups and organisations will also use the new clubroom on a regular basis for meetings and activities.
Barkway Parish Council worked in partnership with the Hertfordshire FA to secure a £59,779 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. Barkway’s opening ceremony follows the two recent openings of third generation (3G) artificial grass pitches (AGP) in Hertfordshire at Wodson Park Sports and Leisure Centre and Monk’s Walk School, also funded by 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 £720m – over £1.2bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 114 grants worth £8.6m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £16m 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.
Sir Oliver Heald QC, MP for North East Hertfordshire, commented: “It was a real honour to cut the ribbon at the opening of the new community changing room pavilion in Barkway. The new facility will be an excellent resource for both local grassroots clubs and community to use for many years to come. I am very grateful l to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their investment into my constituency and to the members of Barkway Parish Council who have worked so hard to make this project a reality.”
Gordon Baker, Secretary of the Barkway Pavilion project committee, said: “Barkway Parish Council is extremely grateful to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for its generous grant and to all those other people and organisations that have made this day possible. Barkway Parish Council is indeed delighted that Sir Oliver Heald QC MP was able to attend and to officially open the new building. This new facility, to be operated with our partner club, Royston Town FC, will go a long way in helping to improve and sustain sporting activities for people of all ages and abilities in Barkway and the surrounding area.”
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 community pavilion 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. I’d also like to thank Sir Oliver for taking time out to officially open the new facility.”
“Aided by the Hertfordshire FA, Barkway Parish Council 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.”