New Playing Pitch Hub at Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre secures Football Foundation grant
South Ribble Borough Council has secured a grant of £816,127 from the Football Foundation towards the creation of a new Playing Pitch Hub for the borough.
Two 3G artificial pitches are to be installed at Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre alongside a brand new, fully accessible single storey sports pavilion.
The £2.6m project gained planning permission in January having initially been approved by Cabinet last October.
Now the development has received another major boost with news that a bid for financial support from the UK’s largest sports charity has been successful.
Coun Mick Titherington, Deputy Leader of South Ribble Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Leisure, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have secured such a significant contribution from the Football Foundation.
“The new Playing Pitch Hub will be a magnificent asset for our local community and it is fantastic that its potential impact has also been recognised in the form of this grant.
“Through our ‘More People More Active’ sports and leisure strategy, we are working hard to ensure more adults and children are able to stay active by participating in team sports.
“At the heart of this strategy is the determination to provide top class facilities which are accessible to all and this is a substantial step forward in the delivery of that strategy.
“On behalf of the council, I would like to thank the Football Foundation for their tremendous support. I also wish to thank our officers and partners for all their hard work in formulating and presenting the successful bid.”
The Football Foundation was established by the Premier League, the FA and the Government to improve the experience of playing football for everyone by championing fair access to quality facilities.
Some 244 football teams play on formal pitches in South Ribble – including 48 adult teams, 60 youth teams and 136 mini-mixed teams. However, there are currently just five full-sized artificial pitches in the borough and only two available on weekends.
The creation of the two new 3G pitches will help tackle increasing demand while protecting existing grass pitches in the borough from overuse. Meanwhile, the accompanying pavilion will provide first class changing facilities for all – with four new team changing rooms with showers and separate disability access facilities as well as a changing room for officials.
Robert Sullivan, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This grant award to South Ribble Borough Council towards developing a South Ribble Playing Pitch Hub is great news for the local community.”
It is expected the new 3G pitches will be available for use by the end of 2021.
The Leisure Centre car park is also to be expanded to provide an additional 77 car parking spaces, including 10 disabled bays and eight electric vehicle charging points. Meanwhile, Brindle Road junction is to be remodelled and improved. These works are due to be completed early in 2022.