Tottenham Hotspur FC Ambassador Ledley King officially opened a state-of-the-art 3G artificial grass pitch or the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London yesterday, Wednesday 22 November. Ledley attended the event as part of Tottenham Hotspur FC’s commitment to supporting the local community across the Borough of Enfield, which is home to the club’s Training Centre.
The brand new pitch at CONEL, which recently joined Capital City College Group, was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The college’s brand new pitch was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The grant has enabled the College to replace an existing grass pitch, which was no longer able to support the level of usage, with a floodlit all-weather pitch, including a spectator area. This is in addition to CONEL’s other full-size grass pitch and internal sports facilities, supporting the college’s Football Academy, Basketball Academy, Martial Arts Academy and Athletics Academy.
The new playing surface can be used all-year-round, affording CONEL, partner club Whitewebbs Eagles FC and other users much greater flexibility in scheduling training and fixtures. This will also benefit Cheshunt Youth League, who will use the 3G AGP as a key venue. Other users will include Edmonton Rangers FC, Edmonton United FC and Percival Youth FC.
In addition, the West Lea Secondary Disability School hope to use the facility to deliver disability sports activities. The College, which already runs sports sessions for disabled students, will now extend this programme thanks to the new pitch.
CONEL worked alongside the Middlesex FA and the Football Foundation 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 college and its partner club plan to establish 14 brand new teams, thanks to the new 3G AGP. This supports an expected 327% boost in football participation across all ages at the site. The College hopes to introduce a new Under-21 girls’ side, increasing female participation across all sports by 175% at the new facility.
CONEL, which boasts former Tottenham Hotspur FC player Garth Crooks OBE amongst its alumni, worked in partnership with the Middlesex FA to secure a L542,384 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards a total project cost of L767,384.
Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England. It develops new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth more than L580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over L800m – L1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 229 grants worth L18.4m towards grassroots sports projects worth over L69.4m across the whole of Middlesex.
By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game. Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.
Ledley King, Tottenham Hotspur FC Ambassador, said: “It’s great to see this state-of-the-art facility up and running and I’d like to thank CONEL for inviting me here to officially open the new pitch.
“During my career, I’ve been lucky enough to have played on some of the best pitches around the world, and I know first-hand the difference this new football pitch will make to players at the College and within the local community who will be using it regularly. I look forward to seeing where it will take them.”
Andy Forbes, Executive Principal of the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Football Foundation for their support in securing the finance to build this new 3G football pitch at our Enfield Centre, and for Ledley King for coming to open this fantastic facility. Sport not only provides physical exercise, but gives students skills such as teamwork, as well as focus, discipline and determination to go on and succeed in their studies.
“We’ve already seen our Basketball Academy win the Association of College’s league title this year, and our Martial Arts Academy produce some top athletes, including a triple British karate junior champion. This new pitch is a great deal for both CONEL and the local community in providing one of the best sporting facilities in the borough.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides the investment necessary to improve grassroots football facilities. So, I am delighted to see CONEL join thousands of local clubs and organisations who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of a new 3G AGP. I’d like to thank Ledley King for taking the time to unveil it.
“Having delivered over L1.4bn of grassroots sports infrastructure projects, the Football Foundation has developed a network of accessible, first-class facilities in areas they will have the greatest impact – thanks to money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England.
“These facilities are more than places to play football at, these facilities are hubs of physical activity, the bedrock of local communities and ‘homes from home’ for so many who also use them as social outlets to learn new skills, gain work experience and other qualifications.”