St Augustine’s RC High School blessed with new football pitches

Friday 4 February 2011

Local people in the Lancashire area are getting ready to celebrate the opening of seven grass pitches at St Augustine’s RC High School – a project made possible thanks to a £117,446 grant from the Football Foundation. The official opening of St Augustine’s Billington Playing Fields will take place at 9.30am on Saturday February 5 at Elker Road, Billington, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 9JA. To mark the ceremony two matches will kick off at 10:15am.

The new pitches will allow St Augustine’s, a school with a strong tradition of sporting achievements, to continue to produce successful sports teams. The vastly improved site now contains two 11-a-side pitches, one full-size dual rugby/football pitch, two junior 11-a-side pitches, two Mini Soccer pitches and training grid areas. All this lends itself to an estimated ten-fold increase in the number of football matches that will be played annually at the site. While the playing fields will cater primarily for football more than a third of activity will be other sports, such as athletics and rugby.

Prior to the Football Foundation’s investment there was a lack of suitable, top class playing fields in the Ribble Valley area. This scarcity meant that local sportspeople had to travel anywhere between four and six miles to participate in sport. As a result a community bid team including Chartered Standard Club Wilpshire Wanderers FC, was established to try and secure funding to install new drainage systems at the 32,000m² site.

Now the new facility meets all the immediate demands of the school and curriculum as well as providing the provisions to build relationships with other Charter Standard Football Clubs, primary schools and other key community stakeholders. Forecasts predict that the number of weekly male users of the site will rocket 5-fold while female use will triple.

Phil Hartley, Fund Raising Officer at Wilpshire Wanderers FC, said: “We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all our funders, the Football Foundation, Lancashire County Council, Ribble Valley Borough Council and all other community fund raising contributions.”

“The grand opening on Saturday will represent the culmination of many years of hard work by a large number of passionate and committed individuals. We are all sure that these facilities will be a tremendous asset to the local community.”

Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government via Sport England, the Football Foundation is the nation’s largest sports charity. Launched in July 2000, the Foundation has so far supported around 8,000 community sports projects worth £945m.

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We are delighted that St Augustine’s and the local community will have access to these fantastic new facilities and congratulate the school and the Lancashire County 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. In Lancashire alone we have supported 405 projects worth £41m.”