Stevenage manager Dino Maamria was on hand to officially open a new third generation artificial grass pitch at Richard Hale School in Hertford last week. This 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 Richard Hale School to install a new 106m x 70m floodlit 3G AGP on their playing fields alongside two rugby pitches. The school gained Academy status in 2013 and the new facility will support the steps being taken to improve delivery of both curricular and extra-curricular sports programmes.
The new all-weather pitch includes markings for 5v5, 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11 football for curriculum use by the school and two partner football clubs, Bury Rangers FC and Hertford Town Youth FC.
As the pitch has been installed with floodlights, it will increase capacity and availability of the facility for the partner clubs thanks to it being usable during the evenings, whilst the acoustic fencing provides protection to local residents from excessive noise.
Richard Hale School were awarded a £400,146 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The school worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Hertfordshire 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 participation.
The new facility is set to support the formation of over 110 new football teams playing at the site during the next five years. This will see a boost of nearly 1,750 people taking part in competitive football over this timeframe, with the most notable increase focusing on the 14-18 age groups.
Matt Botheras, Richard Hale School Business Manager, said: “We would like to thank Stevenage FC Manager, Dino Maamria, for officially opening this wonderful facility and to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their significant investment and support. We would also like to thank the Hertfordshire FA and Bury Rangers FC for their drive, determination and support in bringing this project to fruition.
The facility will allow year-round, floodlit access for the school and the local community for training and matches across the week and we are already seeing an increase in grassroots participation. We were delighted to see former Richard Hale School student Oliver Skipp make his first team debut for Tottenham Hotspur recently and we also hope that the new facility will help to inspire more students to aspire to reach that level.”
Hertfordshire FA Joint Acting CEO and County Development Manager Karl Lingham said: "We are delighted to see the opening of another top class football facility in Hertfordshire. This is the third new all-weather pitch to open in the county in the last few months and we are extremely proud to have been part of making this happen.
These facilities will help to significantly increase the number of people who are able to play the game on a regular basis, delivering valuable benefits to the local community in terms of health and wellbeing for many years to come.”
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. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities.”
Want to develop your own facilities?
If you are intending to improve your football facilities and would like help and advice about the process of applying for funding, follow the link below.
Grants and Funding Information