Top of the range football facilities have been made available through a successful bid to Sport England for £10,000, secured by Telford & Wrekin Council’s Safer and Stronger Communities project.
In addition, Councillor Paul Watling has provided a further £1,000 from his Councillor Pride funding.
Usually reserved for private hire, the synthetic third generation (3G) pitches are now available at four out of seven locations across the borough, with ambitious plans to ensure every 3G pitch holds public sessions.
Supported by qualified coaches from AFC Telford United, young people can now can play on pitches all year round, regardless of weather conditions.
Councillor Watling said: “Top class facilities have been opened up to every young person aged 12-16 almost across the borough, which is an amazing opportunity.
“We’re delighted to be working with Sport England, the FA and AFC Telford to help building communities. It takes time, but we hope that projects like these will have a domino effect and start to create places where young people can spend time in a positive way.
“The best place for youngsters is to be mixing with friends – these sessions provide a place for them to hang out that is safe, supported by professionals and provides enough freedom for them to be themselves.
“We’re thankful for the skills and knowledge the Telford United coaches bring to the sessions and as well-respected people within the borough, the youngsters attending the sessions will get some real benefits, even if they just want to come and socialise.
“The Safer and Stronger Communities team continues to work hard to identify opportunities like this – be that extra funding or helping to set up new schemes to ensure Telford is a safe place to live where people of all ages can thrive.”
Ian Preece, football development officer for Shropshire Football Association, also supports AFC Telford’s community schemes.
“This funding means we can open up opportunities for so many more people and grow participation at a grass roots level," he said.
“We’re creating an environment where young people can thrive and develop socially and emotionally with our support – we’re very pleased to be working with young girls and boys across Telford.”
Sessions are currently being held from 6-7pm at the 3G pitches in Madeley, Dawley, Stirchley and Oakengates.
There is no need to book, the first session is free with a voluntary £1 contribution for additional sessions.
The sessions are currently held at Madeley 3G – Court Street, TF7 5DZ; Langley School – Duce Drive, Dawley, TF4 3JS; The Grange – Grange Park Primary School, Stirchley, TF3 1ET, and Oakengates – 20 Garden Close, TF2 6QB.
Funding to the value of £2.5m has been made available for projects such as this across the borough, with Telford & Wrekin Council providing £1.5m, and a further £1m provided by the police and crime commissioner John Campion.
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