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South Woodham Ferrers 3G Pitch official opening South Woodham Ferrers 3G Pitch official opening South Woodham Ferrers 3G Football Pitch

Kick Off for South Woodham Ferrers 3G Pitch

Grassroots football in South Woodham Ferrers was given a boost when former England International Terry Butcher officially opened a brand-new, third-generation (3G) artificial grass pitch installed by Thornton Sports for use by local schools, clubs and the wider community.

A grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund allowed joint use partners Chelmsford City Council and the William de Ferrers School to undertake a full refurbishment of their out-dated artificial pitch. The School and City Council also contributed funding to the project, which involved installation of Thornton Sports’ SoccerTurf 50M 3G surface plus new fencing, equipment and improved floodlighting.

Terry cut the ribbon on the new facility then enjoyed a Q&A session with the school pupils before witnessing them being put through their paces in a series of training exercises. The facility will be used by the School during the daytime and local users and clubs in the evenings and weekends when the South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre is in operation. Usage will focus on younger player development and Key Partner Clubs, identified in conjunction with the Essex County FA, will have dedicated training evenings. Demand for the facility has been extremely high, but will still include various small-sided leagues and casual use.

Cabinet Member for Leisure, Councillor Julia Jeapes, commented: “The City Council listened to the high level of local support and demand for guaranteed training and match venues and with support from Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and School have helped provide a high quality community facility which will enhance opportunities for local people to improve their health, develop their skills and enjoy sport.”

Neal McGowan, Headteacher, William de Ferrers School, remarked: “The 3G pitch will be a real asset for both the School and our local community, providing an excellent surface for our pupils to develop their skills in a high-quality and safe environment.”

Kelly Simmons, The FA’s Director for Participation and Development, said: “Investment in new facilities such as these forms part of The FA’s £12 million per year investment in improving grassroots facilities through the Football Foundation. This is one component of our wider £260 million four-year plan to boost participation, facilities and coaching across grassroots football.”

Former England Captain, Terry Butcher, said: “It’s wonderful to see the work that The FA is doing to boost football at grassroots level through the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. This pitch is an example of the positive impact that this funding is having on our grassroots game. Providing first-class facilities like this, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, are crucial to creating more opportunities for local people who already play grassroots football regularly and attract new players to enjoy the game.”

Representing AFC Woodham and Focus Ferrers FC, Chairmen, Chris Firminger and Darren Thompson said: “This new playing surface is a fantastic addition to the town’s sports infrastructure and is welcomed by everyone. Our players now have a truly state of the art facility that they can be proud of. We would like to thank Chelmsford City Council and William de Ferrers School for leading the way in getting this project off the ground and for completing it in less than a year.”

To find out more about the range of 3G sports pitches available from Thornton Sports call 01282 777 345 or visit www.thorntonsports.co.uk.

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