After many years of planning, we are excited to say that work is now underway on the redevelopment of the County Ground that will bring significant improvements to the both the pitch and the Clubhouse
Due to be completed by the end of 2018, this project will transform the home of Hertfordshire FA into a high quality, modern facility that can be used more frequently and for a wider range of purposes than before, becoming a real community hub for football in the area.
With a state of the art artificial surface, showpiece events such as our County Cup finals will continue to be hosted at the County Ground, without the widespread postponements that have plagued recent seasons. As the only stadia 3G in the area we will also be able to host a wide range of competitive affiliated matches.
Importantly this development will also allow much greater use of the site by grassroots clubs to play and train, as well as providing us improved facilities for holding courses and seminars. The upgrades to the clubhouse are also designed to encourage greater use of the existing grass pitches opposite the site, which currently do not have changing facilities of their own.
The development of this facility has been made possible by a grant from the Football Foundation. Hertfordshire FA had to apply for this in same way as any other organisation, with a clear and detailed plan for how it will be used to benefit the community and offer more football opportunities for all.
All projects seeking Football Foundation funding need to show how they will sustain or increase participation amongst children and adults, regardless of background age, or ability, as well as helping children and adults to develop their physical, mental, social and moral capacities through regular participation in sport.
Karl Lingham, County Development Manager and Joint Acting CEO said:
“One of the key goals of Hertfordshire FA is to increase the quality and quantity of pitches and facilities, providing more opportunities and more enjoyment for all. We recognise the importance of high quality facilities for football within the county and work hard with our partners to deliver these for local communities.
Our involvement in this process means we often get to see the substantial benefits that projects like this can provide, so when the opportunity to improve our own facilities came up it was something that we had to explore.
Developing the County Ground will take us one step closer to our aim of being the leading County FA in the country, becoming home to a much wider range of activities and placing us closer to the heart of the football community in our county.”
Brian Curtis, Chairman of Hertfordshire FA, added:
“With the commencement of this work we can now look forward to an exciting new future for the County Ground. Our pitch was underused as was our Clubhouse. With this project our aim is to provide a Community Football Centre that will see that change. We have already entered into partnership with others to ensure that our new facilities can be used to further football opportunities for all in the locality”.
Changes to the way we run our business
This development will also see a step change in the activities of Hertfordshire FA as an organisation. While we will continue to govern and administer football as we always have, the new facility will provide us with a significant additional source of income that we can use to support the development of the game.
As such we need to make changes to the way we run our business, including how we apply VAT on some of our products and services.
While much of what we do will remain exempt (including Fines, Affiliation and Registration Fees), VAT will now be charged on other areas of our business, including our training courses for coaches and referees.
To help mitigate this and absorb some of the resulting increase ourselves we have reduced the underlying amount we charge for many of our courses.
We understand that rising prices are always a challenge and this is not something we do lightly. However when considering the project as a whole we firmly believe that any negative impact of this change will be vastly outweighed by the overall benefits our new facilities will bring for football in Hertfordshire.
We will keep you up to date with the progress of the development over the coming months and look forward to welcoming you to our improved facilities in the new year.