3 December 2016

Our city is known as the birthplace of football.

And that sporting heritage was built upon again today (Saturday, 3 December) with the opening of England’s second Parklife grassroots football hub.

New facilities at St George’s Park Thorncliffe, in High Green, are part of The FA’s scheme to address poor facilities in grassroots football and an example of its commitment to football for all – through investment in pitches, facilities and participation programmes.

Councillor Mary Lea, Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for Culture, Sport and Leisure said: “This is a very exciting time for football in Sheffield and we are proud to be leading the way on this national scheme with The FA.

“With hubs opening across the city we now have top class facilities at grassroots level and this will make a huge difference in our local communities, allowing all those who want to play with the opportunities to do so.

“In terms of sports participation, community activity and the associated health benefits, it’s a win for Sheffield.”

This comes after the country’s first Parklife site opened at Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre in the south of Sheffield earlier this year. Construction has also begun on the third national football hub at Westfield, in the south east of the city.

The Parklife hubs at Graves and Thorncliffe will host league matches   and training for up to five resident partner clubs, played on state-of-the-art 3G artificial grass pitches – which will combat any disruption caused by frozen and waterlogged surfaces during the winter.

Typically, a well-maintained natural turf pitch can offer up to eight playing hours of football a week. However, artificial grass pitches can easily accommodate double that volume on a daily basis, this increasing the number of playing opportunities.

The centres at both Thorncliffe and Graves are fully accessible and are available for use.  Leisure facilities operator Pulse will be responsible for day-to-day operation.

Mark Coulson, Parklife programme manager at The FA, said: “Parklife marks the start of The FA’s vision to transform the way grassroots football is played in England.

“Here in Sheffield, and as the programme rolls out nationally, we hope to see the end of poor pitches, woefully inadequate changing facilities and a battle against the elements to get fixtures completed over the winter.

“Parklife promises football for all and we are committed to giving every child that wants to play access to a qualified coach, whilst supporting referee and volunteer recruitment and development to ensure a high quality playing experience.”