TV presenter Hayley McQueen opens West London Sports Hub

Hayley McQueen, Sky Sports News’ lead anchor and Football Foundation Ambassador, officially opened William Perkin CofE High School’s new community sports hub in Greenford, West London.

The project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. 

That investment enabled William Perkin CofE High School to build a new all-weather pitch and two-storey changing room pavilion – projected to increase 14-25-year-old participation by 238%.

In addition to the school’s 785 students, the grassroots site will also be used by local primary schools, and called ‘home’ by local Middlesex FA sides Greenford Celtic FC and Hanwell Town Youth FC.

As part of the project planning, William Perkin worked alongside the Football Foundation, Middlesex FA and Ealing Council to compile a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision of how sport will be played at the new football hub. 

Helping to grow the school’s post-curriculum programme and increase local community usage, the FDP will boost youth participation at the facility via the delivery of FA programmes, Just Play and Mash Up. Active Ealing’s Sports Development Officer will also deliver disability programmes in partnership with the London Disability Football Development Fund.

Built alongside the school’s state-of-the-art all-weather pitch, the new two-storey changing room pavilion comprises: four team changing rooms; two officials’ changing rooms; a clubroom; kitchen facilities; spectator toilets and office space. The clubroom will be used by a variety of sporting bodies as a base for coaching and officiating courses.

The project was made possible thanks to a £534,350 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. Ealing Council gave £500,000 plus investment from Sport England and the London Marathon Charitable Trust. The William Perkin School Fund, which is generated from generous donations from parents, also made a significant contribution to the project.

In order to maximise participation throughout the calendar year, William Perkin is embarking on an ambitious second phase of the project. In partnership with Middlesex County Cricket Club, the vision is to create a centre for state school cricket, a hub for local primary school children to experience cricket and a base to be used by Middlesex Womens’ Cricket.

Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England. It develops new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth more than £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 267 grants worth £22.4m towards grassroots sports projects worth £94.2m across the whole of Middlesex. This investment has covered 25 all-weather pitches, 34 changing pavilions and 144 natural grass pitches.

Football Foundation Ambassador Hayley McQueen, said: “I was thrilled to do the honours and officially open this magnificent facility.

“This sort of pitch wouldn’t look out of place at a professional club’s training ground, it is that good. You cannot help but want to kick a football the moment you step foot on it! That is the beauty of building one of these – people gravitate towards it because they know they’ll be able to play on it all-year-round, regardless of their ability.

“This facility is much more than a pitch and changing rooms – it’s a community focal point. Not only will it be used every minute of every school day by the William Perkin pupils but also by the wider community. It’s an opportunity to keep fit, improve social skills or maybe even gain qualifications, such as coaching badges.

“Speaking to Keir Smith, PE staff and the pupils it is very obvious that they are already putting the pitch to good use. With assistance from the Football Foundation, there is a long-term Football Development Plan here to make sure participation levels continue to climb – there won’t be any issue on that front, for sure!

“The work and planning that goes into something of this scale is huge, so a massive well done to all the people and organisations who have made this possible, including the funding that came from the Premier League, The FA and Government through Sport England.”

Keir Smith, Associate Headteacher, William Perkin CofE High School, said: “I would like to thank all who have contributed to this ambitious project. Through their support, our vision to provide outstanding sports facilities for the state education sector has been realised. I look forward to working with all of our partners to ensure this centre for youth sport development delivers to the young people of West London.

“Phase two – the cricket centre – requires funding in the region of £100,000, so William Perkin has submitted funding bids to the ECB, The London Marathon Charitable Trust, The Heathrow Community Fund and the School Governors. We remain hopeful of securing the funding required to provide the school, and local community, with first class football and cricket facilities.”

Dame Alice Hudson, Executive Headteacher, Twyford CofE Academies Trust, said: “As a Trust, we are committed to achieving outstanding standards in sports as well as the Arts. We are proud to have facilities which rival the independent sector whose success story in delivering national sports men and women we seek to emulate also.”

Councillor Bassam Mohfouz, Ealing Council cabinet member for environment, transport and leisure, said: “It is terrific that the young people of Greenford will have access to such a fantastic facility. The all-weather pitch and changing facilities will provide year round access for the lucky pupils at William Perkin and the wider community encouraging healthy behaviour and lifestyles.”