Pitch project success

Staff and students at Ponteland Middle School are celebrating as the scheme to install a state-of-the-art artificial football surface has reached its funding goal.

The 9x9 pitch, which will be located outdoors in a section of school grounds next to the old railway line, was given planning permission by Northumberland County Council earlier in the summer term.

And the money required for the project – around £450,000 – is now in place following the confirmation of a £230,782 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The other funds have come from Sport England (£150,000), Ponteland Town Council, Ponteland United Football Club, Northumberland County councillors and the school’s Friends’ Association, as well as a number of local organisations and businesses.

Ponteland Middle School headteacher Caroline Pryer said: “It’s fantastic news that we now have the funding and planning permission for this project.

“We have achieved so much since we started working with Sport England and the Football Foundation two years ago.

“We know that Ponteland United has been pursuing an artificial pitch project for five years and it’s thanks to our close community cohesion that this scheme will finally come to fruition.

“We’re aiming to have it ready in the autumn, but that will depend on how quickly we get a licence from Natural England for our programmes to protect the great crested newts on the site.”

The facility will be used by pupils during the day and it will be available for community use after school.

There will be enough space for three five-a-side football games to take place at the same time.