A brand new, state-of-the-art sports facility was officially opened at Vandyke Upper School on Thursday 23rd February.
The new 3G football pitch was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA, the Football Foundation and Central Bedfordshire Council.
After netting £700k grant from the Football Foundation and further contribution from Central Bedfordshire Council, work began in September with the pitch handed over in January and already fully in use by the school and wider community. The facility extends opportunities for training and development of football in the town.
James Petty, Head of Football Development at Bedfordshire FA, said, ‘It is fantastic to see the facility open and officially being used by the students, many of which are involved in local teams and initiatives like the girls’ Squad Programme and Barclays Girls’ Football School Partnerships involving the Leighton & Linslade School Sports Partnership. It was also fitting to have former student and professional goalkeeper, Kelvin Davis cut the ribbon to officially open the facility in what is an inspiring facility for the local community to use. A strong network of clubs already exists in the area and it is exciting to see affiliated football clubs benefitting from the new pitch as well as planned initiatives to increase participation levels.'
Tim Carroll, Headteacher at Vandyke, said, 'This is a marvellous facility that further enhances sporting opportunity in our school and for the wider community. It is a delight to see students enjoying using the pitch and in the evenings and at weekends members of the public through local clubs making full use of it. Today’s official opening was a lovely occasion. Many thanks to Leighton Town coaches for providing a great coaching session for boys’ and girls’ teams to mark the occasion.'
Head of PE at Vandyke, Lee Turney, said, 'It is a fantastic facility that supports physical activity and helps involve even more young people in getting active and playing sport. It further helps strengthen our links with local football clubs.'
Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said, 'We are delighted that Vandyke’s new pitch is now open after receiving Football Foundation investment. Good quality facilities support the health of local people and communities, which is why we are investing in projects like this across the country with funding provided by the Premier League, The FA, Government and Sport England.'