A new sports pitch for Henry Beaufort School

Sky Sports presenter, Jeff Stelling visited Henry Beaufort School in Winchester last week to formally present a cheque for £342,377 on behalf of the Football Foundation. The money will go towards the development of a new £600,000 floodlit artificial grass sports pitch.

The Football Foundation grant will be added to the £130,000 being provided by Winchester City Council towards the cost of the project.

Henry Beaufort is an established Community School and is aiming to create a centre of excellence for youth football. The new state-of-the-art pitch will support development and participation in football in and around Winchester.

Jeff Stelling and studentsHanding over the cheque, Jeff Stelling said: “I am delighted to join youngsters and staff at the Henry Beaufort School to celebrate their success in getting this vital funding from the Football Foundation. When it opens, the new sports site will have excellent facilities and be a big boost to football in the local community. Who knows, it may even lead to some youngsters from around Winchester going on to play for a top flight club or pulling on an England shirt.”

As well as being the face of Sky Sports’ popular Soccer Saturday show, Mr Stelling has also just replaced Des O’Connor as the presenter of Countdown on Channel Four.

The Football Foundation, the UK’s largest sports charity, is dedicated to revitalising the grass roots of the game, constructing modern football facilities, developing football as a vehicle for education in communities throughout the country. The Foundation is funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government with an annual budget of £40m.

Jeff Stelling and studentsAs part of the application to the Football Foundation, the Henry Beaufort School produced a comprehensive football development plan in partnership with Hampshire FA, Winchester City Council and youth football clubs from the Winchester area. The plan will help support the development of grass roots football and is focused on key areas such as the provision of facilities for use by local youth teams, provision of exit routes for school age pupils into local football clubs, development of women’s and girl’s football, development of football for disability groups, social inclusion and provision of training for local volunteers.

Jonathan de Sausmarez, Headteacher at Henry Beaufort School, commented: “The significant contribution by the Football Foundation will create a facility that will benefit the whole community. It really is one of the most exciting developments in creating sporting opportunities for all.”

Cllr Patricia Stallard, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and Sport added: “We are delighted to be able to support this collaborative project to provide a much needed community sports facility for the Winchester District. This facility will give sports participation a boost in this area, offering people the opportunity to play in all weathers and even on dark winter evenings.”