Thanks to an investment of £8m from the Premier League, The FA and Government's Football Foundation and nearly £5m from Wigan Council, construction work has begun on two new multi-million-pound community hubs in Wigan.
Breaking the Ground, From Left to Right: Councillors Nazia Rehman, Jim Moodie, Janice Sharratt and David Molyneux
Identified in Wigan's Local Football Facility Plan as priority projects, the two new Hubs will be home to state-of-the-art facilities at William Fosters Playing Fields in Ince and Laithwaite Park in Wigan. Combined, the sites will serve thousands of children, young people, adults and elderly residents from across the region.
Representatives from Wigan Council and the Football Foundation came together today to celebrate the start of works.
At William Fosters Playing Fields the works will include two new floodlit 3G Football Turf Pitches (FTPs), a four-team changing pavilion with two officials' changing rooms, cafe and social space, plus two training rooms, carparking and children's play area. The site will serve a number of football clubs in the area, including Hindley Juniors FC, who will use the site to accommodate their existing 39 teams.
At Laithwaite Park, the works will include the installation of three floodlit 3G FTPs alongside a new pavilion with six team and two officials' changing rooms, café and community space and car parking. local teams Cherrybrook FC and Wigan Athletic Ladies and Girls FC will make this site their home as Partner Clubs.
Both Hubs will be central venues for mini soccer and junior football through Wigan and District Youth League and the community programmes of Wigan Athletic Community Trust including Premier League KICKS, girls and boys development centres, and post-16 education.
The sites will be operated by the charity Leisure United which will ensure all surplus income is re-invested back into grassroots football in the borough to help make the game more sustainable.
Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: "It's fantastic to see the start of works on these state-of-the-art facilities in Wigan. They will undoubtedly provide a boost for grassroots sport in Wigan and the surrounding area. Not only will they act as excellent physical and social outlets for communities but also provide new jobs - during construction and in the years to come, with people needed to support sites in delivering safe and positive environments for any user."
"Funding from the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, is playing a vital role in making the project a reality."
"It's fantastic to see the start of works on these state-of-the-art facilities in Wigan. They will undoubtedly provide a boost for grassroots sport in Wigan and the surrounding area."