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3G Grand Opening!
A state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP)
was officially opened by Plympton Academy recently. Their new facility
was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The
FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The grant enabled Plympton Academy to install a new 3G AGP, replacing
a natural grass pitch that offered limited playing capacity. In
addition, the Academy’s existing sports facilities have been
reconfigured so that the site now boasts one full-size and one junior
grass football pitch, alongside the new all-weather playing surface.
The new pitch has increased the capacity and flexibility of the
Academy’s facilities thanks to it being usable under floodlights
during the evening, as well as in harsh weather conditions that can
render grass pitches unplayable. This will not only benefit the
school’s pupils, but also players from partner clubs AFC Plympton and
Chaddlewood Miners FC.
Teresa Lakeman, Business Director, Plympton Academy, said: “We would
like to thank Plymouth City and local ward Councillor Patrick
Nicholson, Deputy Council Leader and local Councillor David James for
joining us today to officially open our fabulous new facility but also
our partner Clubs for joining us today to celebrate the opening though
showcasing the use they are making already of the pitch. Our students
and the local community will enjoy many years of use thanks to the
generous support of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. This
new facility represents a considerable improvement in grassroots sport
for Plympton and the academy will continue to work with the local
community to maximise access to our facilities.”
Plymouth Argyle FC Community Trust will also use the site to deliver
community outreach programmes in the form of weekly training sessions
for their youth sides and school holiday football camps for local
children. The club had previously struggled to deliver such sessions
due to the lack of appropriate local facilities but now uses two
Foundation funded sites in the area.
Plympton Academy was awarded a £397,013 grant from the Premier League
& The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The Academy and its
partner clubs worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Devon
FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision
of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing
The new pitch is set to enable the two partner clubs to increase their
collective number of teams from 31 to 43. This will support a
predicted increase of nearly 200 players between the two clubs, and is
expected to result in a 138% increase in football participation in the
over-26 age bracket. This is thanks to the formation of new open-age
and veterans leagues.
Moreover, the number of female players using the site is expected to
double, with five new women and girls’ teams creating a 96% increase
in participation within that demographic. Overall, football
participation at the site is predicted to increase by 73%.
Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity
in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via
Sport England. It develops new and refurbished grassroots sports
facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing
sport at the grassroots level. Since it was launched in 2000, the
Foundation has awarded over 17,000 grants worth more than £615m
towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract
additional partnership funding of £817m – £1.4bn of investment into
the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has
provided 222 grants worth £10.3m towards grassroots sports projects
worth over £19.6m across the whole of Devon.
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.
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said:
“Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the
UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds.
That is why I am delighted that Plympton Academy has now opened their
state-of-the-art all-weather pitch in Plymouth, thanks to investment
from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.