First 3G Pitch in West Cumbria to Open at Lakes College

Lakes College, Sport England, the Rugby Football Union, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, and the Energy Coast UTC have, together, committed over £1 million in funding to build the first third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) in West Cumbria. The pitch, which will be completed in December, will be used by students and will also be open to the local community for hire. Installation of the state-of-the-art facilities has now commenced at the Lillyhall site, and will be open to students and the public from February 2016.

The 3G AGP is being developed to increase sport participation across the college and the local area, where there is a shortage of suitable outdoor sport facilities. With the introduction of the pitch, the college aims to see growth in participation for 16-25 year olds and people with disabilities. It will also encourage the development of local talent by providing a high quality training area.

The pitch will replace the current grassy area at the college which is unusable due to climate and weather damage. It will be utilised by the curriculum during the day time and will be available to hire out to local teams and clubs in the evenings and weekends.

Chris Nattress, Principal of Lakes College comments;

Lifestyle choices in our communities, such as a lack of physical activity and poor diet, all impact negatively on health statistics and that limited opportunities in the local area to access more activity and support only serve to widen health inequalities. This project sits within the college’s commitment to address the range of limiting factors individuals face – from education and employment to health and sporting opportunities.

Sport England property director Charles Johnston said:

“Sports facilities are a vital part of grassroots sport and we know people have a better experience of sport when they can play in good quality facilities. The £500,000 investment being made into Lakes College through our Improvement Fund will make a big difference to community sport in Workington and will ensure people and teams have a place to get active and enjoy sport all year round.”

Liam Nicholls England Rugby Development Officer for Cumbria

“The Lakes College 3G facility provides us with a central base on the west coast to continue the development of rugby union with the clubs, schools and colleges in the area. This will allow us to provide activity across all levels of participation from social rugby through to elite player pathway games as well as supporting our local coach, referee and volunteer development programme. We are investing in various targeted work programmes, from our flagship All Schools through to other rugby playing schools and colleges, to provide a strong rugby union infrastructure in West Cumbria and beyond. The facility is also a great benefit to the wider community, who have strong traditions of sporting participation, and can host a vast array of other sports. The investment from the RFU is to complement the growth of the game and provide a modern, state of the art facility that is almost weatherproof!”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said:

Congratulations should go to Lakes College for working with the Cumberland County FA to secure this Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund grant. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded 69 grants worth almost £3m across Cumberland towards grassroots sports projects worth nearly £6m with money generously provided by our funders: the Premier League, The FA and the Government, via Sport England.”

Lakes College sport student Rebecca Buchanan, Workington, comments;

“It’s really exciting and it’s going to make a really big difference in lessons. This was the first time I’ve been on it and it’s so much bigger than I was expecting. I also train outside of college on the Workington women’s football team and currently have to train in Maryport and quite a few of our matches get cancelled due to weather. The club is hoping to use the new pitch as it’ll be an all-weather space that’s closer to home, so I’ll see benefits both in and outside of college.”

The pitch will have an official opening in February, however bookings are already being taken. Please contact ActivZone on 01946 839308 if you would be interesting in booking the pitch.