Leisure operator LiveWire and Appleton AFC are celebrating more than just the resumption of grassroots football after completion and handover of a new 3G pitch at Broomfields Leisure Centre.
MP for Warrington South Andy Carter, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities Cllr Tony Higgins and Cllr Sharon Harris with Isla, Joshua, Olivia and Sebastian from Appleton Football Club, who won a prize draw to score the first goals on the new pitch
The state-of-the-art facility was officially opened with the occasion marked by four young players from Appleton Football Club who scored the first goals on the new pitch.
In attendance to watch the goals being scored were MP for Warrington South Andy Carter, Warrington Borough Council's executive member for leisure and communities Cllr Tony Higgins and local councillor Sharon Harris.
The process to secure the facility has been a long one, with LiveWire working with Warrington Borough Council for a number of years to produce a playing pitch strategy for the town that was released in 2019. The strategy details the quality of pitches across the town and priorities for future development that was key to securing £358,000 of the £518,000 total project cost from The Football Foundation.
The pitch is a state of the art, 3rd generation rubber crumb surface installed by SIS Ltd, a national leader in 3G installations and main contractor at facilities such as the national sports centre in Loughborough.
The new pitch is slightly larger, but importantly, is FIFA approved for competitive match play. This will allow competitive fixtures to take place on the pitch at weekends as well as the traditional weeknight training, allowing anchor partner Appleton AFC to play host to 5v5 through to 11 v 11 fixtures every weekend without being susceptible to the unpredictable British winter that sees huge numbers of wet weather cancellations during the season.
Cllr Tony Higgins, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, said "Warrington has worked really hard to identify priorities and funding opportunities through the Playing Pitch Strategy, and we're delighted this has supported not only this facility here at Broomfields Leisure Centre, but also recent new pitches in Birchwood and Lymm. Warrington Borough Council has directly invested £160,000 from the Capital Investment Programme to enable us to draw down the £358,000 awarded by the Football Foundation and create a facility to be really proud of here in South Warrington."
Emma Hutchinson, Managing Director of LiveWire, said: "LiveWire has brought together a fantastic partnership to make this new facility happen, with funding from Warrington Borough Council, a really dynamic community football club in Appleton AFC as well as support from Bridgewater High School and Broomfields Youth Project. There are a lot of people who will benefit from this in South Warrington as we have seen from other similar developments at our facilities in Orford and Great Sankey in recent years."
Richard Hartland, Chair of Appleton AFC, said: "Appleton AFC are delighted with the new 3G pitch, and thankful for the investments from Warrington Borough Council and the Football Foundation, and the hard work from LiveWire for managing the project. The facility will be a big improvement for our 700 players and whilst playing competitive matches we will be welcoming teams and players from all across Warrington to enjoy the facilities."