Monday 24 March 2014
The next generation of footballers in Stoke-on-Trent have been able to continue their love of the game throughout the wet winter thanks to a new 3G pitch in the city that was built with the help of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
"The 3G pitch will open the doors to get a lot more people involved in sport, particularly youngsters"
Simon De Winton
The all-weather pitch at Northwood Stadium was officially opened this month and is part of a £850,000 project, of which more than half the funds (£431,876) have come from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
The Fund, which was launched last October, will invest £102m over three years into building and refurbishing local football facilities with the aim of giving people more opportunities to play football. It started investing the money from January with the focus on improving facilities in deprived urban areas, through top-quality artificial grass pitches and floodlights to extend use into the late evening, especially during the winter months.
The rest of the funding for the Northwood Stadium came from the city council and the project was delivered by the Football Foundation, the country's largest sports charity. Through investment from its funding partners, the Premier League, The FA and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport via Sport England, the Foundation has provided 81 grants worth £11.2m towards grassroots sports projects worth £17.9m across the whole of Staffordshire.
"This is an outstanding new 3G AGP and refurbished changing rooms, which will benefit football in and around Stoke-on-Trent," Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said. "Developing new grassroots facilities, such as these, is essential to increasing the number of people who have a chance to stay fit and healthy through participating in sport."
One team who enjoyed the new Northwood Stadium facilities are The Dragons, who play in the North Staffs Girls League, and are keen to be able to use it now that it has been opened.
"Having a pitch like this is great news for teams and footballers in the city," Simon De Winton, the Dragons manager and chairman, said. "It will open the doors to get a lot more people involved in sport, particularly youngsters, and that can only be a good thing."