Tuesday 6 November 2018
Harborough Town FC unveil new state-of-the-pitch at Bowden’s Park
Vice-president of The FA, Mervyn Leggett (centre) was in attendance as Harborough Town FC officially opened their new all-weather pitch.
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Harborough Town FC officially opened their state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Bowden’s Park recently (Thursday 1 November).
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 project also received a grant from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the sister organisation of the Football Foundation.
The funding enabled Harborough Town FC, who play in the United Counties League Premier Division at Step 5, to convert the grass pitch at their home ground into a new full-size floodlit 106m x 70m 3G AGP. The project will provide the club with much needed high-quality training and competition facilities.
Whilst the wider project focused on converting the existing first team pitch to an all-weather facility, the FSIF funding has been used to improve the car parking provision, providing safer access to the site, as well as providing new boundary fencing, pitch perimeter hardstanding and dugouts.
Harborough Town FC were awarded a £436,123 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. They also received £58,427 from the Premier League through the FSIF – the largest funders of non-league football in the country.
The club worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Leicestershire and Rutland County 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.
Across users, it is hoped that the new pitch will support the creation of 22 new teams at Harborough Town FC, enabling the club to grow from 43 to 65 teams. Of this, nine new girls’ teams will see an increase of over 140 new female players at the club, which represents a growth of 158%.
In 2012, Harborough Town FC were awarded a £6,239 grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund install a new covered seated stand at Bowden’s Park.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 257 grants worth £15.6m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £28m across the whole of Leicester.
Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “It’s fantastic news that Harborough Town FC have been able to install an all-weather pitch at their home ground, with help from Premier League funding. The pitch will undoubtedly support an improved level of play all year round, which is fantastic for everyone associated at the club.
“Through the FSIF, investment from the Premier League is being used to improve the infrastructure at lower levels of the game. This is being achieved through projects just like Harborough Town FC’s development, which are improving the experiences of players and spectators all over the country.”
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 Harborough Town FC has now opened their state-of-the-art 3G AGP in Market Harborough, 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.”
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Notes to editors:
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 18,000 grants worth more than £638m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of £841m – totalling almost £1.5bn of investment into the grassroots game.
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.