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A BRAND NEW artificial 3G football pitch is all set to open at Garon Park, offering a whole host of local clubs an opportunity to flourish and offer soccer to a wide range of enthusiastic footballers across the region.
The Southend facility has been installed by SIS Pitches Ltd – a corporation renowned for installing similar sports surfaces worldwide – largely thanks to grants from the Premier League, FA Facility fund and additional funding from holders of the Garon Park Community Bond – it will be run by the Garon Park Community Interest Company.
Representatives from Old Southendian, the Southend United Community Educational Trust, Porters Sociability, Southendian Manor as well as the schemes community bondholders were present as the keys were handed over following completion of the £1m project.
Speaking to Yellow Sport, Garon Park Community Interest Company Director, Clive Shiret, enthused: “This is a great day for the local community. We are developing a first-class facility, offering football to local clubs and organisations.
Ross Johnson, from the Southend United Community Educational Trust, was also impressed, adding: “We have our B.Tech and football scholarship programmes based here at Garon Park. Alongside that, we have a football games programme which is run by the English Football League.
“We train three times a week and stage league or cup matches on a Wednesday against other communities. This is an excellent facility. We’ve been using the grass pitches but with the artificial pitch, we can now beat any inclement weather. It offers a more professional set-up, which we are keen to offer to the boys.”
Junior football will also benefit hugely. Lee Smith, the spokesperson for Southendian Manor Youth Football Club, explained: “The pitch will allow us to continue to grow the club in various areas and offer football to many more local children and young adults.
“Not only that it will result in a big reduction of cancelled games particularly in the winter months and keep the children playing the game they love.
“It’s a fantastic facility and one that will secure the future of our club for many years to come.”
Football is expected to commence on the new ground once it has received it’s FIFA performance certification early in the new year.