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Jeff Smith MP opens new £66,000 pitches to boost grassroots sport in Manchester

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Jeff Smith officially opened West Didsbury and Chorlton AFC’s new £66,263 real grass pitches at Hardy Farm, Chorlton, on Saturday 10 October 2015. The project was made possible thanks to a £43,263 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.

The grant has enabled the club to join with Oswald Road JFC to provide four new pitches for sides from Under-8 to Under-16 along with a new full-size pitch for the club’s Under-18 youth team and adult ‘A’ team. These real grass pitches have breathed new life into an area that was previously home to nothing more than overgrown playing fields.

The club worked in partnership with Lancashire FA to secure the grant from the Premier League & the FA Facilities Fund and also raised over £20,000 from its own fundraising efforts and other small grants.

By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game.

Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester, Withington, said: “It was a joy to mark the official opening of these new real grass pitches in Chorlton. This development will be of tremendous benefit and use to the local community for many years to come and thanks must go to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for its generous investment into my constituency.  

“Everyone involved in this project, from West Didsbury and Chorlton AFC, Lancashire FA and the Football Foundation, deserve great credit for making these new pitches possible. I look forward to seeing local sport go from strength to strength over the coming years.”

Glyn Meacher, Club Chairman said: “We are grateful to Jeff Smith MP for taking time out to open our new facilities and also to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and our other contributors, for supporting us in meeting our vision of having an integrated community club with many of our teams playing and training in this location and improving opportunities for grassroots sport in Chorlton and the surrounding areas.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC to develop the new pitches and provide a real boost to local sport.

“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports. 

“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This latest project in Chorlton is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love if it and to stay healthy.”

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