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£1.2m artificial pitch opened in Bourne

A new £1.2m artificial grass pitch was officially opened in Bourne this week.

The pitch, off Fontwell Park Drive, was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League, the Football Association and the Government’s Football Foundation, and was brought to fruition by the Elsea Park Community Trust.

Trust chairman Jono Brough and directors were there in a small opening ceremony to see the ribbon cut by Bourne mayor Colin Pattison and to toast the opening.

Bourne mayor Colin Pattison cuts the ribbon to open the new artificial pitch at Elsea Park in Bourne.
Bourne mayor Colin Pattison cuts the ribbon to open the new artificial pitch at Elsea Park in Bourne.

A larger opening day for the whole community is being planned for when restrictions allow.

He said: “It’s a fantastic asset, not just for the residents of Elsea Park but for the whole of Bourne. It has been a long time coming but it is marvellous to be here to declare it open.”

After netting a £487,000 grant from the Football Foundation, work on the pitch began in May 2020.

The grant, equating to 67 per cent of the costs of the fully floodlit pitch, and the associated project management and consultancy fees, has enabled Elsea Park Community Trust, working closely with the original lead developer, Kier Living, to meet one of the obligations set out in the original section 106 agreement made in 2001.

This obligation covered the provision of space and supporting infrastructure for grassroots football and associated match play.

Meanwhile, the large car park for 90 cars, the access road, provision of site services, and hard landscaping was all provided by Kier Living which also obtained final planning approval on behalf of the trust and provided a financial contribution of £315,000 towards the cost of the new sports pavilion required for the site.

The pavilion comprises of two changing rooms with showers and toilets, officials changing room, office, and a large club room (with adjoining kitchen) to support classroom-based training and provide much needed social space. A small number of disabled parking spaces will be sited directly alongside the pavilion.

The rest of the project costs were covered by extensive funding by Elsea Park Community Trust (from the reserves accumulated from the Yearly Payment levied on all properties located within Elsea park) and generous grants received from The Len Pick Trust, South Kesteven District Council and Bourne Town Council.

Further contributions were secured from the three partner clubs; Bourne Town, Bourne Town Juniors, and Thurlby Tigers.

In total, the project has cost more than £1.2m.

The site will be used by residents of Elsea Park and those living in the wider Bourne area, with considerable access being delivered through the three partnership agreements. Local schools, youth groups, and other community organisations will also benefit from use of the site.

As part of its football development plan, the trust has ambitions to make football much more accessible to those with disabilities, encourage growth and participation by women and girl players, and provide regular walking football sessions for those to whom it will appeal; in short, it is striving for inclusive football.

In fact, the first game on Wednesday will be a walking football game, followed by Peterborough Junior Blues in the evening.

Elsea Park Community Trust worked in partnership with the Lincolnshire FA to secure the Football Foundation funding.

Chairman of the trust Jono Brough said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see the facility finally able to open. This project started in 2015 and a considerable amount of effort has been afforded to getting us to this stage.

“I can’t wait to see the pitch fully in use by children in the community.”

Jono also paid tribute to the hard work of long-standing trust manager Barry Cook for his work in seeing the project to fruition.

The Elsea Park AGP will enhance grassroots football development within Bourne and the surrounding villages, and this is thanks to significant funding from the Premier League, The FA and the Government through the Football Foundation.

Robert Sullivan, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We are delighted that the Elsea Park AGP is now open to the public after receiving Football Foundation investment.

“Good quality facilities support the health of local people and communities, which is why we’re investing in projects like this across the country with funding provided by the Premier League, the FA, Government and Sport England.”

Booking enquiries for the pitch should be sent to: enquiries@agp.elseapark.co.uk

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