I had the pleasure of officially opening a state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) for Moulton FC recently. Their new facility was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The grant enabled Moulton FC, who play at Step 7 in the Northamptonshire Combination League, to install a brand new FA standard full-size, floodlit 3G AGP at the club’s Brunting Road site. Unlike some of the existing grass pitches, which cannot support back-to-back fixtures and become unusable during the winter months, Moulton FC’s new pitch is available all-year-round and will facilitate increased playing demand.
The pitch has been installed with floodlights, enabling increased playing capacity thanks to it being usable in the evenings. Local teams Earls Barton FC, Kingsthorpe Jets FC, Parklands FC and Mawsley FC will all benefit from the new pitch, as well as the Northampton and Women Girls League, which will use the site as a central venue.
As the principle disability football provider in the local area, Northampton Town Football in the Community Trust also plan to use the site to deliver monthly sessions. The Trust will work in conjunction with Northamptonshire County FA’s Disability Officer to develop provision to help increase participation by people with a disability.
Moulton FC were awarded a £499,421 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The club worked alongside the Football Foundation and Northamptonshire County FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.
The new pitch is set to enable Moulton FC to double in size over a five year period, growing from 20 to 40 teams. This will support a predicted increase of 1,278 players at the club, which represents a growth of 376%. The most notable growth is anticipated in the 14-25 age bracket, where 738 new players in this age group will create a 1,085% increase in participation.
Significant growth in the number of female players using the site is also expected. Five new women and girls’ teams will help to create a 443% increase in participation within that demographic.
In 2009 Moulton FC received a Football Foundation grant of £590,692 towards a new clubhouse which is well managed and maintained by the club. The new pitch has been built on the same site to complement the existing clubhouse and will further help the club to attract new players.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 175 grants worth £6.7m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £11.8m across the whole of Northamptonshire.
Sport plays a key role in promoting health and well-being for people of all ages, and this grant will certainly help to promote participation in football. With the help and support of Northamptonshire FA and the Football Foundation, the new pitch will enable the club to double in size!
Any initiative that encourages more people to get active should be applauded and I hope this new facility will attract lots of new people to participate in football, whether that be recreationally or in a competitive environment.
Peter Knight, Chairman of Moulton FC, said: “We would like to thank Chris Heaton-Harris for his support through the project and for opening the new 3G pitch today. We would also like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, for its support over the last 10 years as we have worked to improve the facilities at the football club.
“Over the last 10 years the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has invested over £1.6m with Moulton FC which has transformed the facilities that we have and have provided a major improvement to support grassroots football in the Moulton Area.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am delighted that Moulton FC has now opened their state-of-the-art all-weather pitch in Northamptonshire, thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
“Continuing to improve access to high-quality facilities like this one is a key aim for the Premier League, The FA and the Government. Delivered by the Football Foundation, their funding supports projects for clubs and organisations all over the country and is helping to boost the number of people benefiting from sport through better facilities.
“Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities.”