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Mbemba opens new all-weather pitch

Newcastle United defender Chancel Mbemba officially opened a state-of-the-art 3G artificial grass pitch for West Moor Residents Association this week.

The DR Congo international was on hand to cut the ribbon and unveil the new facility, which was was made possible in part thanks to a grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund – delivered by the Football Foundation – and an additional investment of £23,014 from the West Moor Residents Association.

Together with the Association’s contribution, the grant enabled West Moor Residents Association to replace the sand-based artificial grass pitch at the West Moor Community Centre with a brand new all-weather surface. The original playing surface was over ten years old and no longer fit for purpose, especially during wet weather.

The upgraded 3G pitch, which can be used all-year-round, will benefit a number of users including West Moor JFC, who use the Community Centre as their home base, West Moor Community Walking Football and Killingworth Town FC.  

Across the users, a number of different teams are able to take advantage of the improved playing surface. This includes a mixed under-7 team, two girls’ under-11 sides and a number of junior male teams ranging from the under-8 to under-14 levels.

West Moor Residents Association, which has been responsible for the running of the Community Centre since its opening ten years ago, worked alongside the Northumberland FA to secure a £9,863 grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund towards the project.

The Association’s committee recognised that the facility provided an affordable way to play football for local teams, the community and youth projects that take place at the Centre, hence their own investment in the project. The Association is delighted with the upgrade and are pleased to be able to offer a state-of-the-art facility to the local area.

“I really enjoy seeing the positive effect of football, and I’d like to thank West Moor Residents Association for inviting me to open their great new facility,” said Magpies defender Mbemba. “Being able to play on better surfaces will help people to play and train more effectively, so it’s great that this area now has access to a state-of-the-art pitch.

“It’s really important to keep improving the standard of grassroots football facilities, to help develop players and keep people interested in the game. The Premier League, alongside The FA and the Government, through Sport England, are investing in this all over the country and the upgraded 3G artificial grass pitch for West Moor Community Centre is a great example of what this money is used for.”

Margaret Hind, Chairperson of West Moor Residents Association, said: “We would like to thank Chancel Mbemba and Newcastle United for coming along to open our refurbished pitch. We would also like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their support.

“Finally, I would like to thank the people of West Moor for trusting us to spend the Association’s money wisely. Without this investment, the pitch would have closed but we are happy to say that accessible sport is alive and kicking in West Moor.”

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.

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added: “The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides the investment necessary to improve grassroots football facilities. So, I am delighted to see West Moor Residents Association join thousands of local clubs who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of their upgraded 3G artificial grass pitch.”

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