Wokingham Borough Council’s plans for a new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch for students and the public at The Emmbrook School are a step forward thanks a grant from The Premier League, The FA and government’s Football Foundation.
The £480,298 grant is in addition to £350,000 developer contributions the borough council has secured for the scheme – a total investment of £830,298. Planning permission for the scheme was granted in 2018.
Enhancing school and community facilities
The new pitch will not only enhance the school’s PE provision but will create community facilities for everyone.
Students will use it solely during school hours and for after-school activities. Football clubs including the borough council’s partners Wokingham and Emmbrook FC and Ashridge Park FC, and community groups, will use it evenings and weekends. The pitch will also be adaptable for five-a-side, seven-a-side and nine-a-side.
A 3G pitch has an artificial surface and is a substitute for grass. 3G is the latest version of what used to be called Astroturf.
Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, said: “The Emmbrook 3G pitch will be a fantastic addition to our leisure facilities in the borough, which will benefit not only the school but local clubs and community groups. We’re making significant investment in our leisure facilities at a time when many local authorities across the country are scaling back.
Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Since 2000, the Football Foundation has awarded 307 grants worth £6.4million across Berks & Bucks County FA region towards grassroots sports projects worth £15.2million and it is great to hear that The Emmbrook School will be the latest beneficiary.
“Funding from the Premier League, The FA and government, delivered by the foundation, will support the school in developing a brand new all-weather pitch for the local community. Made possible by investment from the Premier League, The FA and the government, via Sport England, the Football Foundation is supporting the grassroots game by improving access to high-quality football facilities across the country.”
The borough council is in the process of appointing a contractor for the project, and hopes building work will start during the summer, so that the pitch can open later this year.
The five other 3G pitches in the borough are at Cantley Park, Montague Park FC, Arborfield Leisure Centre, Ryeish Green Leisure Centre and Goals in Woodley.