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Sporting boost for new schools project at Hexham

The scheme which is providing two new schools in Hexham has received a boost, with news of a £482,575 grant towards a new all-weather 3G artificial grass sports pitch.

Young footballers are set to benefit from fresh investment into these new local facilities as 
Hadrian Learning Trust and Northumberland County Council have been jointly awarded the grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.

The floodlit pitch will form part of the sports and community facilities at the multi-million pound re-development of Hexham Middle and Queen Elizabeth High Schools. 

The Football Foundation is the UK’s largest sports charity and exists to improve the experience of playing football for everyone, by championing fair access to quality facilities. 

There has been a recognised need for an artificial grass pitch in Hexham for many years and this has been a strong focus for the council, working with Northumberland FA and the Football Foundation. 

The new schools development provided an excellent opportunity to develop a pitch which will benefit local clubs, but also greatly improve sporting facilities for the two Hadrian Learning Trust schools.

Hexham Football Club, Northumberland FA and the Football Foundation all supported the application, and a number of teams will benefit from using the new pitch.

Cllr Cath Homer, cabinet member responsible for sport and leisure at the council, said: “This is fantastic news, not only for students at the two new schools but for sport, and particularly football, in the wider Hexham area.

“We have long had a desire to develop an all weather football pitch, and this scheme, and the grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation, will allow this to become a reality.”

Graeme Atkins, Executive Headteacher at Hadrian Learning Trust said: “Sport is an important part of the broad educational experience for our young people. 

“This new pitch will help transform that experience and also help fulfil the Trust’s intention that these magnificent new facilities will become assets for the whole community.”

In a joint statement, the trustees of Hexham Football Club said:  “Hexham FC is delighted to support the fantastic sports facility development at the new Hexham Middle and Queen Elizabeth High School site. 

“The new 3G FTP will have a huge impact on the club and will allow us to train all year round on a state of the art pitch. Having an excellent playing surface will allow us to further develop our players' technical ability, in line with the club's ethos. 

“We are looking forward to accessing the pitch as soon as it is available. It will also provide a much needed sports facility for the wider West Tyne area, allowing more of the community to get involved in a range of sports to help and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.”

Robert Sullivan, Interim Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We know the huge benefits playing regular football can have on individuals’ physical and mental well-being.  That’s why we’re committed to transforming the face of grassroots football facilities in this country.  It’s therefore very welcome news to hear that this funding will support Hadrian Learning Trust, Northumberland County Council, Hexham Football Club and the local community by greatly improving local facilities for football.

“Working with our partners – the Premier League, The FA, government and Sport England – we will be investing in over £1bn worth of local facilities across the country over the next decade.  We believe we can transform lives and strengthen communities by unlocking the power of pitches and this is another project that brings us closer to that ultimate goal.”

The new pitch is scheduled to be open for club use in January 2021.  Changing facilities will be provided in the new school buildings, however until these are complete teams will be able to use changing rooms in the existing school.
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