Crawley MP Henry Smith and Crawley Town manager Mark Yates have opened the new 3G all-weather surface at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
The Community Ball Court was financed thanks to a £42,315.72 grant which was awarded by Biffa to the club’s Community Foundation.
This helped pay for the upgrade of the facilities from 2G to 3G.
Biffa is a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives by funding community and environmental projects across the UK as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.
First team manager Mark Yates and his assistant Jimmy Dack rolled back the years to take part in a three-way tournament with their backroom staff, the community team and BTEC scholars.
Having had very little maintenance since it was laid over 15 years ago, there has been a clear drop in the use of the site as a consequence.
However thanks to the grant, the foundation will be looking to continue the recent revival of community programmes on the ball court – especially now that the site will be safer than ever before.
Crawley Town Community Foundation manager Birtug Kazim said: “For the past year we have steadily increased the activity we deliver on the ball court, but whenever we have some rain or adverse weather conditions we have had to call off our sessions.
“With the all-weather 3G surface, we will not only be able to play through the rain but also increase the range of programmes we deliver on the Community Ball Court.”
Henry Smith commented, “I was delighted to hear from Birtug that the Crawley Town Community Foundation had been awarded a Biffa Award funding to resurface the Ball Court pitch.
“This will help the Foundation continue to grow their successful community programmes, including COGs (Crawley Old Girls) who are soon to be featured on Sky Sports, Capers, run in conjunction with Autism Sussex, and their BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport.
“The new 3G pitch is a fantastic surface and I’m sure it’ll lead to further participation in Community Foundation projects.
“Having listened to some of the BTEC students at today’s launch it’s clear how much of an improvement this new pitch is.”
Crawley Town manager Mark Yates added: “It’s a fantastic surface and great opportunity for the local community to make use of more quality playing facilities in the town.”
Kazim explained: “The BTEC provides opportunities for students to move onto university, work here with us at Crawley Town or fly off to USA on scholarships in the summer of 2016.
“We plan to develop the programme even further for September 2016.
“Our Football Education Academy is 11-a-side football playing competitive games, where players scouted by Crawley Town first team management will be able to train with the first team.
“Following the loss of our academy, there has been a distinct lack in opportunities for young players to progress from grassroots to the first team of Crawley Town.
“The Football Education Academy will allow young people the chance to study at Crawley Town FC, and have a realistic and direct route into the first team if they are good enough.
“Any of those young people who don’t quite make it will still have the chance to leave with qualifications equivalent to three A-levels, and opportunities to go to university, work in the sports industry or fly off to USA on a scholarship.
“We have an Open Evening here at The Checkatrade.com Stadium on Thursday January 14 at 6.30pm for prospective students and parents.”
Anyone interested can call 01293 410000 option 4 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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