State-of-the-art 3G pitch unveiled
Darlington Borough Council unveiled a new floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Eastbourne Sports Complex on Wednesday (19 October), thanks to a grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The project will boost local grassroots sport through the creation of 10 new teams, with overall sports participation set to rise by 40 per cent. These outcomes are projected as part of the five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision for how sport will be played at the new facility – developed by the school alongside the Football Foundation and Durham FA.
The grant has enabled the Council to upgrade their previous sand-based pitch to a new 3G AGP that will be used extensively throughout the community, including local grassroots sides: Darlington FC Reserves, Middleton Rangers FC and Darlington Youth FC.
The project was made possible thanks to a £412,580 grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. It is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England, and delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.
By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game. The new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and the local community.
Mike Crawshaw, Head of Leisure, Darlington Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to open the new artificial grass pitch at Eastbourne Sports Complex which is going to benefit the local sporting community in Darlington for many years to come. The new AGP will allow the clubs on site to grow and will support increasing participation in sport and physical activity through the new football development plan in partnership with the local clubs and community groups who use the site.
“The state of the art new facility wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the local clubs, the Council who worked with Sport England, Durham FA, Steve Wells Associates and the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund to whom we are extremely grateful for their support to make this exciting project happen.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive, the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Darlington Borough Council to upgrade the 3G pitch at the Eastbourne Sports Complex. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.
“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This project in Darlington is the latest addition of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it and to stay healthy.”