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Haywood Academy pupils playing cricket

Sport England funding approved for state-of-the-art sports centre in Burslem

Haywood Academy is among 149 projects to secure a share of £16.5 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England that will help improve facilities and playing fields across the country.

The proposed Haywood Academy Sports Centre will feature a new, competition approved, sand dressed, full size hockey pitch, a new under 13’s size football pitch and improvements to existing facilities will include a new 200m track for athletics, a new cricket pitch with a new cricket wicket and a new football pitch to replace the current Redgra area, all with improved drainage.

The new sporting facilities will compliment the existing indoor sports hall, with its dance studio/gym and changing facilities that were developed in 2012.

In addition to the funding from Sport England, the City Learning Trust will also contribute approximately £250,000 to provide the outstanding sports facilities for its 3,000 students from member schools across Stoke-on-Trent, as well as local clubs and the community to use for a wide range of sports, with the aim of increasing community sports participation.

Carl Ward, Chief Executive, City Learning Trust, said: “This is the first competition approved hockey pitch in the city. There are some good hockey teams in Leek, Newcastle, Stafford and Cannock, but now this gives us the opportunity to nurture sporting talent in Stoke-on-Trent from primary school children as young as five up to sixth formers.

“We want to create a thriving sports hub and to provide a facility that will open up access for the community. Our aim is to increase the general well being of members of our local community by setting up a variety of activities that are fun and which either get people back into playing sport or into it for the first time.

“Many clubs and societies in the local community already make use of our existing facilities and we’re hoping that the state-of-the-art sports hub will attract even more local people and new clubs and societies.”

Kirsty Goldie-Brammer, England Hockey Clubs and Facilities Manager, commented: “We are delighted that Haywood Academy will be building a new hockey pitch. It provides an opportunity to grow the sport within Stoke-on-Trent through both the school and the wider local community. We are looking forward to working together to promote hockey and making it a key sport in the area.”

A community consultation process is already underway and planning permission will now be submitted.

The announcement comes as Sport England revealed that it has reached a major funding milestone – having invested £5 billion in grassroots sport in the last 20 years.

Since 1994, the year Tom Daley was born, Wet Wet Wet topped the charts with Love Is All Around and the Channel Tunnel opened, Sport England has made tens of thousands of investments – totalling £5 billion.

Sport England’s Property Director, Charles Johnston, said: “£5 billion is a huge sum of money, but it’s the projects and people that that money supports which are really important. We’re delighted to have invested so much into community sport, and see on a daily basis the impact that it makes for local people.

“The latest round of facility funding continues to make a noticeable difference to community sports clubs across the country. By giving people top-class, sustainable facilities in which to play sport, and by improving and protecting our playing surfaces, we’re ensuring that more people can pay sport, more often.”

The latest round of facility funding will help create new changing rooms, pavilions and artificial grass pitches as well as protecting and improving grass pitches to make people’s sporting experiences better.

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The staff here are excited about the extensive opportunities for collaborative working, sharing of teaching and learning expertise and resources and partnership development work, all of which will provide excellent learning opportunities for the children of our city.

Sharon Bates

Headteacher, Mill Hill Primary School