A new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) which was opened at Philip Morant School and College in Essex recently (Monday 11 March) will support nearly 100 women and girls playing competitive football in Essex 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 £498,959 grant from the Football Foundation, work begun on the site in November 2017. The new pitch not only provides the school's PE Department with a first-class facility, but the local community will also benefit from an all-weather training site for youth development and community projects.
Philip Morant School and College has formed a partnership with Disability4Sport UK to provide soccability and hearing-impaired sessions for the local community on the new pitch. The site will also be used by Essex County FA to deliver coach and referee education courses.
Partner club, Stanway Rovers FC, will focus on establishing three new girls' teams within the first year of the pitch being in operation, growing to five teams by year five. This will contribute to 98 girls and women starting to play competitive football in Essex - which is one of the County FA's key focuses.
Scott Holder, Headteacher at Philip Morant School and College, said: "The 3G AGP pitch has improved sport at Philip Morant. Students love the quality of the FIFA Approved Surface, which has led to an increase in the number of young people joining clubs, particularly football."
"We have also been able to increase the range of sports available throughout the year as the area has floodlights, which means clubs and activities can continue in the winter months."
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 Essex and I am delighted for everyone associated with Philip Morant School and College.
"This is one example we want to make people in Essex 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 Essex 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