Former Newcastle United and England footballer Peter Beardsley has officially opened a new state-of-the-art playing surface in Northumberland thanks to a £185,000 grant from the Football Foundation.
The full size third generation (3G) artificial grass football pitch at Sporting Club Cramlington was completed with a £100,000 investment from Cramlington Learning Village and Blyth Valley Arts & Leisure.
Community support was received from Cramlington Town Council and Northumberland County Councillors, Tom Brechany and Barrie Crowther, who all committed funds to the project.
Peter Beardsley said: "This surface will make a real difference to grassroots players who are developing their skills and it's great to see Football Foundation funding recognising partnerships such as this one."
"I know our own community organisation, Newcastle United Foundation are really pleased to be using such a high quality venue for their work."
The opening coincided with a Newcastle United Foundation launching a new series of Holiday Soccer Schools at the state of the art venue, the first being enjoyed by over 60 youngsters who were already putting the new pitch to good use during their Easter holidays.
Since February 2013, Newcastle United Foundation have also working with the school to deliver their sixth form football programme. Football Development Officer Steve Swinyard will lead on this venture which involves weekly squad training sessions and a comprehensive games programme in the Northumberland Schools League.
Neil Winskill, Football Development Manager commented; "This is a wonderful facility and we are thrilled to be working with Paul and the school to provide community coaching for the local children. In addition we have also struck up a partnership to deliver the sixth form football programme which will hopefully provide an opportunity for these young players to work alongside our qualified staff to help deliver our very popular holiday camps."
Paul Steanson, Director of Sport at Cramlington Learning Village, said: "We are delighted to see this facility open in Cramlington. It will greatly enhance teaching and learning, create opportunities for our pupils and will support the terrific work of football clubs in our community."
"Young players need to train and play on this quality of surface especially in the winter months and we are extremely grateful to the Football Foundation for making this possible in Cramlington and for the support we have received from Blyth Valley Arts & Leisure and the Northumberland FA. It all ties in very nice with our new partnership with Newcastle United Foundation who we are delighted to have on board. We look forward to working with the Foundation to fill this facility every school half term".
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