Selwood Academy Headteacher, Jean Hopegood (far left) is joined by school governor, Chris Bailey Green (second left) P.E. staff and students, guest of honour, Rob Treacher (centre) and Brendan Dix from Somerset FA (far right) at the opening of the new pitch.
A state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) was officially opened at Selwood Academy in Frome recently (Tuesday 30 April 2019).
The new facilities were made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.
After netting a £498,621 grant from the Football Foundation, work begun on the site in June 2018. The new pitch not only provides the school’s PE Department with a first-class facility, but also the local community and sports organisations to participate in sport and physical activity for health improvement and development of their skills.
The new all-weather pitch includes markings for 5v5, 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11 football and has been installed with floodlights to help increase capacity and availability of the facility. Selwood Academy are also able to offer use of newly refurbished changing rooms on site.
With just one other AGP in Frome, which is a sand-based pitch at Frome Leisure Centre, Somerset FA identified the site as a priority area in the County to improve provision of football facilities. In addition to this, there are three large football clubs in the town and the lack of suitable facilities for winter training and match play has halted any growth or development of these clubs.
Partner clubs Frome Town AFC, Frome Town Robin’s, Frome Town Youth FC and Frome Collegians FC will all benefit from the new facility. The clubs worked in conjunction with Somerset FA to focus on providing increased provision for competitive football participation over the next five years and aim to establish 17 new football teams, including a mixture of boys, girls and open age sides during this time.
Jean Hopegood, Headteacher at Selwood Academy, said: “The children are so excited and can’t wait to enjoy all year-round sports on this incredible playing surface. So many members of the local community, the local football organisations, the Premier League, The FA and Government through the Football Foundation, Somerset FA, the Academy staff and Governors have contributed to the completion of the pitch.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The support of the Premier League, The FA and Government enables the Football Foundation to help improve community sports facilities like this one across the country. Their funding has played a key role in delivering this new all-weather pitch in Somerset and I am delighted for everyone associated with Selwood Academy.
“This is one example we want to make people in Somerset aware of, that they have the kind of quality pitches and changing rooms that are taken for granted in other counties. We will continue to support projects nationwide, but we cannot do this on our own, so we are encouraging organisations in the area to join our movement to deliver quality football facilities for people in Somerset once and for all.
“Taking part in community sport at any level offers many benefits and rewards, not least the opportunity for people to enjoy themselves and socialise with different members of the community.”