Hayley McQueen, Sky Sports News’ lead anchor, officially opened William Perkin CofE High School’s new community sports hub in Greenford, West London on Tuesday 25th April 2017.
The project was made possible thanks to partnership funding from Ealing Council of £500,000, plus investment from Sport England and the London Marathon Charitable Trust. The William Perkin School Fund, which is generated from generous donations from parents, also made a significant contribution to this project. That investment enabled William Perkin CofE High School to build a new all-weather pitch and two-storey changing room pavilion – projected to increase 14-25-year-old participation by 238%.
In addition to the school’s 785 students, the grassroots site will also be used by local primary schools, and called ‘home’ by Middlesex FA Girls Centre of Excellence and local sides Greenford Celtic FC and Hanwell Town Youth FC.
As part of the project planning, William Perkin worked alongside the Middlesex FA and Ealing Council to compile a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision of how sport will be played at the new football hub.
Helping to grow the school’s post-curriculum programme and increase local community usage, the FDP will boost youth participation at the facility via the delivery of FA programmes, Just Play and Mash Up. Active Ealing’s Sports Development Officer will also deliver disability programmes in partnership with the London Disability Football Development Fund.
Built alongside the school’s state-of-the-art all-weather pitch, the new two-storey changing room pavilion comprises: four team changing rooms; two officials’ changing rooms; a clubroom; kitchen facilities; spectator toilets and an office space. The clubroom will be used by a variety of sporting bodies as a base for coaching and officiating courses.
In order to maximise participation throughout the calendar year, William Perkin is embarking on an ambitious second phase of this project. In partnership with Middlesex County Cricket Club, the vision is to create a centre for state school cricket, a hub for local primary school children to experience cricket and a base to be used by Middlesex Womens’ Cricket.
Hayley McQueen, said: “I was thrilled to do the honours and officially open this magnificent facility.”
“This sort of pitch wouldn’t look out of place at a professional club’s training ground, it is that good. You cannot help but want to kick a football the moment you step foot on it! That is the beauty of building one of these – people gravitate towards it because they know they’ll be able to play on it all-year-round, regardless of their ability. This facility is much more than a pitch and changing rooms – it’s a community focal point. Not only will it be used every minute of every school day by the William Perkin pupils but also by the wider community. It’s an opportunity to keep fit, improve social skills or maybe even gain qualifications, such as coaching badges. Speaking to Keir Smith, Associate Headteacher, PE staff and the pupils at William Perkin it is very obvious that they are already putting the pitch to good use. The work and planning that goes into something of this scale is huge, so a massive well done to all the people and organisations who have made this possible.”
Keir Smith, Associate Headteacher, William Perkin CofE High School, said: “I would like to thank all who have contributed to this ambitious project. Through their support, our vision to provide outstanding sports facilities for the state education sector has been realised. I look forward to working with all of our partners to ensure this centre for youth sport development delivers to the young people of West London. Phase two – the cricket centre – requires funding in the region of £100,000, so William Perkin has submitted funding bids to the ECB, The London Marathon Charitable Trust, The Heathrow Community Fund and the School Governors. We remain hopeful of securing the funding required to provide the school, and local community, with first class football and cricket facilities.”
Dame Alice Hudson, Executive Headteacher, Twyford CofE Academies Trust, said: “As a Trust, we are committed to achieving outstanding standards in sports as well as the Arts. We are proud to have facilities which rival the independent sector whose success story in delivering national sportsmen and women we seek to emulate also.”
Councillor Bassam Mohfouz, Ealing Council cabinet member for environment, transport and leisure, said: “It is terrific that the young people of Greenford will have access to such a fantastic facility. The all-weather pitch and changing facilities will provide year round access for the lucky pupils at William Perkin and the wider community encouraging healthy behaviour and lifestyles.”