STUDENTS at a Northumberland school are this week celebrating, as work has started to refurbish an artificial grass football pitch into a third generation pitch thanks to a £184,584 grant from the Football Foundation.
The £296,788 project at Sporting Club Cramlington, coincides with the tenth anniversary of the facility’s original opening.
Cramlington Learning Village and Blyth Valley Arts and Leisure (BVAL) contributed a combined investment of £98,704.
The state-of the-art pitch will be used by students at Cramlington Learning Village as well as youngsters from Cramlington Town FC and Cramlington Juniors FC, with both clubs contributing £1,500 towards the project.
Local support was also received from Cramlington Town Council and Northumberland County Councillors, Tom Brechany and Barrie Crowther, who committed funds to the project by way of community grants.
It is predicted that when refurbishment work is complete, more than 900 local people will use the site every week in addition to 1,300 school children.
Wendy Heslop, headteacher at Cramlington Learning Village, said: “We are delighted to see work begin on the pitch and eagerly await its completion.
“Our students have fantastic opportunities to participate in sport and this will further enhance our provision.
“We are committed to supporting school sport and are pleased that the facility will also benefit our wider community.”
BVAL will continue to manage the pitch for club and community use.
Colin Winfield, facilities manager for Blyth Valley Arts and Leisure, said: “We have reached this stage after a huge amount of hard work and are grateful to our partner football clubs for their support.
“On behalf of everyone involved with Sporting Club Cramlington I would like to thank the Northumberland FA for its guidance and the Football Foundation for investment.”
Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, added: “We are delighted that Cramlington Learning Village and the community will have access to this facility and commend the school and the Northumberland FA for their hard work in making this happen.
“This is the latest example of thousands of projects across the country that the Football Foundation is supporting with money provided by our funding partners the Premier League, The FA and Government (via Sport England).”