Sarah Newton MP opens new all-weather pitch in Falmouth
Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth officially opened a new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Falmouth School recently (Wednesday 26 September). 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 has enabled Falmouth School to install a full-size floodlit 106m x 70m 3G AGP, replacing grass pitches adjacent to the school building. With supporting access paths, storage containers and new car parking facilities, the pitch will cater for the demands of the school pupils and wider community.
The new all-weather pitch includes markings for 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11 football for curriculum use by the school and two partner football clubs: Falmouth Town AFC and Falmouth United. 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.
In addition to the partner clubs, a number of other local teams will benefit from the new pitch, including Falmouth DC and Perranwell FC. On top of this, as part of a Pro Club link with Falmouth School, Plymouth Argyle’s Community Trust will use the site to deliver school holiday camps and community sessions.
Falmouth School were awarded a £362,574 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The school worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Cornwall 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.
It is hoped that the new surface will support the creation of 18 new football teams – a number of which would be from partner clubs Falmouth Town AFC and Falmouth United. The most notable increase would be within the Under-14 age categories, where 16 new sides will support an additional 200 players within this demographic.
A boost in overall football participation of 171% on-site is predicted as a result of the new teams. Improving provision for the local women’s game is also a key aim and it is predicted that more than 150 females will start playing football at the site, which represents a growth of 371%.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 147 grants worth £6m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £10m across the whole of Cornwall.
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 Falmouth School has now opened their state-of-the-art 3G AGP in Falmouth, thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
“Continuing to improve access to high-quality facilities like this one is a key aim for the Premier League, The FA and the Government. Delivered by the Football Foundation, their funding supports projects for clubs and organisations all over the country and is helping to boost the number of people benefiting from sport through better facilities.
“Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. 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.”