Guildford Borough Council And Kings College Unveil New All-Weather Pitch
Guildford Borough Council and Kings College School were delighted to officially open their newly refurbished floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at a free family fun day recently (Saturday 11 May).
The refurbished full-size pitch was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government, through their charity, the Football Foundation.
After netting a £346,736 grant from the Football Foundation, work begun on the site in January 2019. Guildford Borough Council also contributed £120,000 and the Kings College Trust a further £80,000 to make the project possible. The project is part of Guildford Borough Council’s long-term commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of their residents through project Aspire.
The original sand-based facility at the site was installed over 25 years ago and had not been used to full capacity since 2015 due to the repairs required to make it safe and playable.
The restricted use of the pitch since 2015 meant partner clubs Guildford Saints FC and Worplesdon Rangers FC had to move sites for matches and training. With the refurbishment of the pitch, both clubs can now return, providing them with a facility to train, play matches on and support their growth in youth, Mini-Soccer and open-age players, with an emphasis on mixed and girls’ football.
Surrey FA identified the site as a priority location to provide improved football provision and it is anticipated that through the growth in the partner clubs and College that 73 teams will be operating from the site in five years time. The development of 17 girls’ teams would also see over 300 females participating in affiliated football by year five.
The new facilities represent an important addition to the school and follow a recent positive Ofsted rating for Kings College. This project is being delivered in the heart of the Westborough Community to increase the opportunities for all ages and abilities to access the benefits of sport and physical activity. King College will manage the new facility with support from Guildford Borough Council to develop football opportunities for the community.
Alastair McKenzie, Principal of Kings College, said: “We are excited to be able to offer our students such excellent facilities within the school. With so many enthusiastic and talented footballers, we look forward to being able to support their future sporting development. Kings College has always been a community school and we are proud to be able to provide an elite venue for local people to use and enjoy.
“I would like to thank Deputy Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Marsha Mosely, for officially opening our facility.
“Thanks to the grant from the Premier League, The FA and the Government through the Football Foundation, our brand new pitch will provide a first class facility for local clubs and players of all ages and abilities to participate in grassroots sport.”
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 refurbished all-weather pitch in Surrey and I am delighted for everyone associated with Guildford Council and Kings College School.
“This is one example we want to make people in Surrey 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 Surrey 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.”