PREMIER League football clubs are to help fund Wellington’s £1.1 million new artificial floodlit sports pitch at Court Fields School.

The school has been given a £730,000 grant from the Premier League, The Football Association (FA), and the Government’s Football Foundation.

It means work on the 3G pitch can start in the spring and the facility should be open during the autumn of this year.

Headteacher Polly Matthews said it was a ‘major sporting boost for both the school and the local community’.

An impression of how the new 3G sports pitch will look at Court Fields School, Wellington.
An impression of how the new 3G sports pitch will look at Court Fields School, Wellington. (S&C Slatter)

Court Fields was granted planning permission for the 3G facility in December, 2023, after it agreed to reduce the height of the lights from 50 feet to 43 feet and accepted the pitch could only be used between 7 am and 10 pm daily.

Mrs Matthews said: “I am especially grateful to all the sports groups, parents, and community members who took the time to submit letters of support for the application.

“This facility will have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of sports and recreational provision in the Wellington community, helping us to develop and improve the sports skills, health, and wellbeing of all ages, as they benefit from a much-needed facility in the area.”

Other funding support for the project includes £150,000 from Wellington Town Council, and money from Somerset Council, Bishop Fox's Educational Foundation, and the school’s own capital funds.

Mrs Matthews said the project would have a positive impact for townsfolk because it catered for the physical educational needs, sports training, and recreation of students and the community all-year-round.

She said: “While the primary goal of the 3G pitch is to increase grassroots football and rugby, it will allow children, young people, and those of all ages and abilities to enjoy a wide range of participation opportunities.

Court Fields School, Wellington, headteacher Polly Matthews.
Court Fields School, Wellington, headteacher Polly Matthews. (Court Fields School)

“The facility is integral to the area’s playing pitch strategy and will be available for use during the school day, for sports tournaments, and festivals, as well as evenings and weekends for lettings, training, and community events.

“It will help us promote a healthy lifestyle and encourage a wider demographic to take full advantage of this fantastic facility, including increasing female, disability, and over-55s participation.

“I would like to thank those in the school, the Blackdown Education Partnership, the community, and those in external organisations who have worked with us to make this exciting project a reality.”

Football Foundation chief executive Robert Sullivan said he worked closely with partners the Premier League, The FA, and Government to transform the quality of grassroots facilities in England by delivering projects across the country such as the 3G pitch for Court Fields.

Mr Sullivan said: “Good quality playing facilities have a transformative impact on physical and mental health and play an important role in bringing people together and strengthening local communities.

“This grant award to Court Fields School towards developing a new 3G pitch at the site is fantastic news for the local community and will help give more people access to a great place to play.”