A new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP), which was opened at Unity Academy for Blackpool recently, is set to support 20 new female football teams in Blackpool over the next five years.
The new full-size pitch was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government, through their charity, the Football Foundation.
After netting a £576,353 grant from the Football Foundation, work begun on the site in September 2018. Following the opening of the new pitch, Unity Academy students will have access to a first-class playing surface throughout the day, unaffected by poor weather or underfoot conditions.
With just one other comparable facility within a two-mile radius of the Unity Academy, several partner organisations including: Blackpool Football Club Community Trust, FC Rangers, Layton Juniors, Blackpool Rangers, Bispham Junior Football Federation, Blackpool and District Youth Football League, Blackpool and Fylde Football Alliance and the LFA Wildcats will all reap the benefits of the new facility.
Blackpool has been identified as a key area for female participation growth in Lancashire by the County FA. The new pitch at Unity Academy will support 20 new female teams during the next five years. This will be strongly driven by partner club Bispham JFF, who are expected to create 13 of the new teams.
Simon Brennand, Senior Vice Principal, Unity Academy Blackpool said: "This project was undertaken to enhance the sporting and competitive experience of students attending Unity Academy, other academies within the Fylde Coast Academy Trust and more widely within the Blackpool community. In addition to the benefits of modern coaching and consistent, resilient curriculum delivery, this facility will be an excellent resource for multi-school events, festivals and fixtures and will boost the pride and intrinsic motivation of students and staff.
"Unity Academy is committed to ensuring the highest possible standards in all aspects of our work and to give children every possible opportunity to achieve highly. Staff within the academy are driven by the passion to provide the highest quality teaching and learning experiences throughout our school and for our community.
"This facility will inspire our next steps in school improvement and increase levels of school pride, community engagement and student achievement. We are extremely grateful to the Football Foundation for their outstanding support and for helping us to deliver these aspirations"
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 Blackpool and I am delighted for everyone associated with Unity Academy for Blackpool.
"This is one example we want to make people in Blackpool aware of, that they have the kind of quality pitches and changing rooms that are taken for granted in other counties. 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 Blackpool 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."
For the full article visit: www.footballfoundation.org.uk