Grassroots sport in St Albans received a significant boost following the opening of a new state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch, funded by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.
The astro-turf facilities at the school were officially opened by Alan Smith, ex Arsenal and England. and will allow Nicholas Breakspear School to further its excellence in the development of sport, and the outreach work it does in the community. St Albans City Youth Community Football Club are also delighted to be able to continue its work by using the new facility as its centre for training.
The School and the club along with other community groups worked in partnership with the Hertfordshire Football Association to secure a £318k grant from the Football Foundation. Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.
Phil Jakszta, Headteacher said: “The opening of this new facility will provide the School with some of the best sporting facilities in the area, it has been a long road to get to this point but anyone looking at the new pitch will quickly see that all the effort has been worthwhile. Our thanks must go to the Football Foundation for supporting the project.” He added that the school would sincerely like to thank the District Counsellors who were supportive of the bid.
Mervyn Morgan, Trustee of St Albans City Youth Community Football Club said “I echo Phil’s words, every time I look at the new facility I have to pinch myself. It has been a long time coming but the new facility will enable the club to continue its work within the community. “
From left to right: Mervyn Morgan of St Albans City Youth, Alan Smith, ex Arsenal and England player, The Mayor of St. Albans Cllr Eileen Harris, Phil Jakszta and Angela Chisholm
|Kelly Hancock & Sam Mardle Astro Community Sports Managers at the time of the opening.|
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted to see this tremendous new facility complete and ready for use by the local community. The dedication and hard work of St Albans City Youth, Nicholas Breakspear School and Hertfordshire Football Association over a number of years has resulted in the successful completion of this project.”
"None of this would be possible without the crucial cash provided by our funding partners The FA, the Premier League and the Government. Now the important work begins to ensure the facility remains sustainable and benefits as many people as possible.”
Phil Newbery, PE teacher at the school, has said about the new facility:” It has already had a positive impact on the quality of the experience that the students are experiencing.”
For more information about the work the Football Foundation is doing in Hertfordshire and all over the country visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FootballFoundtn.