Grassroots boost for local football

Just Regional
Jan 25, 2016 3 mins read

Sprowston residents will soon be able to make use of a state-of-the-art floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) when a new facility based at Open Academy on Salhouse Road opens soon.

Known as the FDC @ Open Academy, the project was made possible thanks to a grant of £498,789 from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation – the country’s largest sports charity.

Work started on the construction of the new pitch in November last year, and it is due to open in February, weather permitting.

The FDC @ Open Academy will be used by the Open Academy students during the day and the local community during the evenings and weekends.

The need for such facilities has been identified by both the Greater Norwich Development Partnership in its “Playing Pitch Strategy” and The FA, with the “National Facility Strategy” indicating a lack of 3G pitches in areas of high demand.

Following the success of Norfolk County FA’s Football Development Centre (the FDC), launched in Bowthorpe in 2009, this development would represent the first step in increasing the number of football hubs around Norfolk.

The site will operate in partnership with Norfolk FA and the new facility will provide an all-weather surface to meet both the current and future demand in this area of the city and surrounding areas.

Shaun Turner, chief executive at Norfolk FA, said: “The construction of the FDC@Open Academy is a significant achievement for grassroots football and concludes months of hard work.

“The new facility will be a fantastic and much needed addition to the existing local pitch stock, offering our clubs, leagues and the local and wider community a fantastic opportunity to access a state-of-the-art modern facility, whilst at the same time giving Norfolk County FA an opportunity to directly service the modern day game in a new varied way.”

Paul Dunning, chief executive at Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the students at Open Academy and the community it serves.

“The principal and staff at the academy have worked hard with Norfolk County FA to secure the funding to make this dream a reality. Open Academy already has a good reputation for sport and this facility will further enable the opportunity for football development both within the curriculum and competitively.”

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This latest project in Norfolk is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love if it and to stay healthy.”

For further information email theFDCopen@NorfolkFA.com.


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