England manager Roy Hodgson pitches in at Biggin Hill school

Wednesday 01st October 2014
ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson will be in Biggin Hill on Friday as he opens the new state-of-the-art 3G pitch at Charles Darwin School.

The former Tonbridge Angels, Gravesend and Northfleet, Maidstone United and Ashford player, will be accompanied at the event by the head coach of the England Women’s team, Mark Sampson.

And the two England managers will talk to Charles Darwin students after the official opening of the artificial grass pitch at the Jail Lane school.

The new pitch was installed as part of an upgrade to the sports facilities at the school following a successful bid for funding to help grassroots football.

Sixty-seven grassroots football facilities across the country are set to benefit from a £5.7million cash injection from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund.

Kent has received a total of £251,040 from the fund which has contributed to investment of nearly £450,000 towards the county’s footballing facilities. This funding has helped Kent FA reach a landmark investment of £1 million pound investment into the county’s facilities so far this year.

Paul Dolan, the chief executive of The Kent FA said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating the opening of a new state-of-the-art 3G pitch at Charles Darwin School on Friday.

“The Kent FA aims to establish safe and structured football opportunities for the benefit of all. And with the growth of housing in Kent, the contribution that grassroots football can make to building stronger communities, reducing crime, improving health, and tackling obesity is clear.

“Having recognised this, part of Kent FA’s ‘Ahead of the Game’ strategy launched in 2012 highlighted targets to help achieve these social outcomes.

“One primary aim was to invest in modern ‘fit for purpose’ football facilities to support clubs, leagues and volunteers who form the backbone of delivery.

“The Kent FA services the needs of the football community by putting in place a new generation of modern football facilities, working with clubs on applications to filter funding through to projects. Already this year £1,053,107 has been invested into projects in Kent.

“This sum has been made up of £329,670 from the Premier League & FA Facilities Fund, £228,215 from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and £495,223 from partnership funding. A total of 13 Kent clubs have received funding support for their projects thanks to help from Kent FA.”

Darryl Haden, Kent FA county development manager, added:  “To secure in excess of £1 Million of investment into facilities is a fantastic achievement for Kent Football. All credit must go to the 13 clubs that have received this funding, as without their hard work and perseverance we would not have achieved this level of investment.”

Kent FA’s landmark news helps contribute to the organisation’s larger target to reach £10 million investment into new facilities by 2015. With 2014's total so far added, since Kent FA launched its latest strategy, the organisation has brought £6,194,933 into the county.

Helen Grant MP, the minister for sport and equalities, said: “The Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, backed with investment from government, shows what can be achieved with a strong public and private partnership in sport.

“By building fantastic all-weather 3G pitches across the country we will boost grassroots football, encourage participation all-year round and also help develop the next generation of talent.”

Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the Premier League, said: “The Premier League's commitment to and investment in grass roots facilities is unprecedented and unparalleled.

“These new and upgraded sites will be of huge benefit to local communities, allowing even more schools, clubs and casual players to enjoy their sport.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the game.

“They will also enable professional clubs at all levels to engage with their communities, becoming hubs to deliver outreach work that improves the lives of local people, and promotes health, education and social cohesion.

“Our continued investment in the grass roots of the game will see hundreds of millions of pounds more flow into the game at this critical level in the coming years benefiting hundreds of thousands people as well as laying the foundations for the future development of English football.”