A new full-size artificial football pitch is due to open at Melbourn Village College next year.
The £800,000 project is due for completion next spring after the college and The Cam Academy Trust, of which it is a part, were able to secure grant funding for the project from the Football Foundation.
The bulk of the money is coming from the Football Foundation, the Premier League, FA and Government’s sports charity, which exists to improve the experience of playing football for everyone, by championing fair access to quality facilities.
The rest is coming from the Section 106 agreement with developers Hopkins Homes, who are building houses in Melbourn.
The 100m x 64m floodlit pitch will be approximately four times the size of the current aging artificial surface it is replacing and, in addition to school use, will be available to local football clubs, for all ages and abilities, as well as the community out of school hours.
Melbourn Principal Simon Holmes said: We’re absolutely delighted to have been finally able to secure this amazing facility for our pupils and the local community.
“Not only is this bringing our facilities up to date, but it is expanding and improving them as well. This is the culmination of years of hard work and I can’t wait to see it in full use.”
Initial groundwork is due to start at the end of November to prepare the site for the build which is due to start in earnest in January 2021 and take 14 weeks – depending on the winter weather!
At the same time, the college has also improved changing facilities, with two new changing rooms available near the sports centre and work under way to further improve the other school PE changing rooms and toilet area.
The successful application for Football Foundation backing follows previous failed applications and the prospect of a new top-quality 3G playing surface in the area has delighted Cambs FA.
Football Development Manager, Katie Critchley, said: “This exciting new facility will enhance the already thriving football offer in Melbourn, for students at Melbourn Village College and the wider football community, providing a quality playing surface and creating opportunities for all to play football.
“Partner club, Melbourn Dynamos, have been incredibly supportive throughout the process and their 23 teams will also enjoy football on the new 3G pitch.
“Grassroots football provides many benefits to local communities and we’re very grateful that the Football Foundation, Premier League and the FA continue to invest in quality facilities.
The new facility will be managed by Be Active, who run the Melbourn Sports Centre, which is also located on the college site.
“This new full size 3G Astroturf will provide a truly top class facility for thousands of people in the area and certainly highlight MVC on the sporting map, “ said Ryan Smith of Be Active.
“Along with the already excellent facilities offered on-site at the leisure centre and swimming pool, the pitch will be a huge asset for the whole community.
“We greatly look forward to furthering our relationships with clubs which already use the centre and welcome new groups to benefit from this boost for local sports, fitness and general wellbeing.”
The grant award has also been welcomed by South Cambs District Council and Melbourn Parish Council who both backed the college’s bid.