Karren Brady today unveiled the West Ham United Foundation’s new all-weather 3G pitch, funded thanks to a grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation.
The Vice-Chairman was joined by West Ham United Foundation Chief Executive Joe Lyons and young Hammers defender Reece Burke, who grew up less than a mile away from the Foundation’s headquarters at Beckton, where the ribbon was cut to officially open the new pitch that will serve so many members of the local community.
The state-of-the-art facility at Beckton is projected to increase overall sports participation by 78% and will see 17 new teams created. It will be home to the West Ham United Ladies, whose teams have recently been taken in-house by the Club, and players from pre-school age through to the veterans of the walking football team, whose oldest player is 84-years-old.
The new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) – which can be used all year-round, and throughout the winter weather – replaces a previous sand-based playing surface, and is complete with floodlights, perimeter fencing and a spectator viewing area.
The West Ham United Foundation will also use the pitch to deliver a wide range of social, educational and community-outreach programmes including Premier League Primary Stars, Premier League Kicks and inclusive disability sport.
Karren Brady said: “This is what football is all about, seeing players of all different ages and backgrounds enjoy themselves purely for the love of playing the sport.
“This new all-weather pitch will make a tremendous difference, helping youngsters across Beckton and beyond to adopt football as a real passion; a platform to make positive life choices and engage among the local community.
“These grassroots facilities are so vital in helping achieve this, providing safe and accessible sporting venues for people to stay healthy and enjoy their football. I’m delighted that the facility is now up and running thanks to our partnership with the Premier League and the generous financial support of the FA Facilities Fund.”
West Ham United captain Mark Noble who, like Burke, grew up in Newham, said: “I’m so impressed with the quality of this new all-weather pitch. Having played across all levels of the game, I know how important these types of facilities are in helping nurture good football, and importantly, reaching out to the local community.
“Having grown up locally, I enjoy a special connection with the area and have seen the massive impact that West Ham Foundation make in the local community. They deliver a huge number of programmes for men, women, junior and disabled players, using the power of football to really turn people’s lives around.
“I’m proud to captain my hometown team which has such a strong affinity with its community roots, and this all-weather pitch – a first-class grassroots facility – will allow the Foundation to extend their work even further. The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund have made all of this possible, and I’d like to thank them for their invaluable investment.”
Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman of the Premier League, said: “This new all-weather pitch is a fantastic facility at which West Ham can grow and develop the already outstanding community work delivered by their Foundation.
“Beckton is sure to be a constant hub of activity and will allow people of all ages and abilities access to the club and its community programmes.
“Having a safe and modern space at which local people can socialise, stay fit and healthy, and forge a strong connection with the club, is fundamental to creating a sporting legacy for the area.”