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New 300,000 3G Pitch Opens In North Tyneside

Wed 22nd Oct 2014 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

A state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) was officially opened at Lockey Park, Wideopen, by the Mayor of North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn, recently.

The project was made possible thanks to a £99,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.

The new floodlit 3G pitch will be used extensively by local grassroots club, Wideopen Juniors. The club, who currently run 18 teams, will use the pitch all-year round to host Mini-Soccer matches and training sessions.  As a result of this new facility, Wideopen Juniors will expand the size of their club by forming four new teams, including two girls’ sides, over the next four years. The club will also work to ensure that there are clearer pathways between junior and adult football.

In addition to the 3G pitch, the £299,500 project has also involved the car park at the site being extended, to alleviate parking pressures as the amount of people participating in sport at Lockey Park increases. 

This is not the first time that North Tyneside Council have received funding from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund to develop facilities at Lockey Park. In 2006, the council received a £360,000 grant to build a new changing pavilion, which still serves the Wideopen community well today. 

The club worked in partnership with the Northumberland FA to secure a £99,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 93 grants worth £10.9m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £21.8m across the whole of Northumberland. 

Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England, the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 13,000 grants worth more than £500m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £700m – over £1.2bn of investment into the grassroots game. 

By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game. 

Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work. 

Norma Redfearn, Mayor of North Tyneside, commented: “This is fantastic news for the whole community; the improvements will not only benefit Wideopen Football Club, but also local schools and the wider public. 

“The grant has enabled the council to provide the very best facilities for these groups – which is something they longed for – and I know they are very excited about playing on the state-of-the-art pitch. I would like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their investment into the area.” 

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added: “The Football Foundation is responsible for managing and delivering the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, via Sport England. This new 3G pitch is an example of the positive impact that this funding is having on our grassroots game. First-class facilities like this are crucial to creating more opportunities for local people to enjoy regular sport. 

“Aided by the Northumberland FA, North Tyneside Council deserves huge credit for taking a vision and turning it into a reality, using funding provided by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. Sport has the power to make a positive impact on the health of communities and this wonderful new facility will improve the sporting experience of local people and encourage them to be more active.” 

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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