Uffculme School Astroturf Pitch Fundraising Project
It has long been an aspiration for the School to develop an all-weather Astroturf sports pitch to enhance the physical education curriculum across a whole range of sports. Whilst our sports teams are undoubtedly very successful, the restrictions placed on them in terms of access to pitches in all weathers does hamper the development of the students. An Astroturf pitch will have an impact not only on what sports we can offer but also on the quality of skill development, tactical knowledge and understanding and the students’ overall enjoyment of taking part in different sports and being physically active. One of the PE department’s main aims has always been to engage students in a physically active lifestyle which lasts not just for the five years they are here at the school but for the rest of their lives; an Astroturf pitch would strengthen this aim.
What is the need?
We currently have 3 indoor teaching spaces and 4/5 teaching groups on the timetable at any one time. This means that currently when the weather is poor (which in the current climate is in the winter and summer!) we have to double up the outdoor group with one of the indoor groups – which is not ideal and has an impact on students’ learning and progress. A summary of other uses and benefits includes:
- Uffculme is now one of the only Secondary schools in Devon without this facility
- Currently we have no capacity for students to play hockey games and training is severely limited
- Travel to the Cullompton ATP takes too much time from a lesson
- An Astroturf pitch would provide space for additional tennis coaching
- An Astroturf pitch would provide space for football and rugby skills coaching, protecting the grass pitches for competitive games
- An Astroturf pitch would provide the option of continuing with athletics and rounders training during inclement summer weather
- Increased opportunities for sports participation amongst partner primary schools
- Providing a local community facility for hockey and small sided football matches
What are we planning?
The proposal would be to construct the Astroturf pitch on the lower field (see plan). This would be sized for competitive hockey but as it would be a ‘sand-dressed’ pitch, it would be suitable for a variety of other sports including tennis, football, rugby training, athletics and rounders. The pitch would be fully fenced and floodlit and would have an area for public viewing. It would replace the far rugby/football grass pitch but we would look to move the other rugby pitch and also use the field over the road for both rugby and football now that the surface has become more robust.
- We are proposing a full size sand dressed pitch as it will be suitable for multiple sports/uses, including high level hockey, small sided football, training for football, rugby and tennis, plus much more
- Pitch will be fully fenced and floodlit
- Will be available to the local community outside school hours
Benefits to the local community
Through Uffculme Sport & Fitness, the infrastructure is already in place to manage the letting of the pitch outside of curriculum hours. As the surface of this facility will be ideal for hockey, priority would be given to our two partner clubs who are both looking to expand their junior sections but cannot secure the playing space to do so. Outside of these times, the main usage would be for community 5-a-side football and tennis but we have also had interest from local rugby and cricket clubs for winter practice.
In addition, we would look to national organisations (such as England Hockey) to take advantage of our location for coaching weekends and umpire training. We currently work with an external provider to run holiday clubs for students using the sports hall and the field; the Astroturf pitch would give us an opportunity to broaden these clubs and to deliver some sport-specific activities.
How much will it cost?
What have we done so far?
- Secured planning permission from Mid Devon District Council
- Made two bids for funding to Sport England in 2014 and 2017 (both unsuccessful)
- Applied for a one-off opportunity to bid for funding from ESFA in 2017 (unsuccessful)
- Made a bid for funding to The Hockey Foundation (unsuccessful)
- The two main reasons these bids have fallen short are 1) Not enough matched funding from ourselves and 2) Not enough evidence of engagement with local clubs
- Link with two Tiverton-based hockey clubs who are keen to expand their clubs.
- These clubs to reapply to National Hockey Federation (max £50k), and possibly other grants for hockey equipment.
- Reapply to Sport England for a possible grant of £150k
- Approach large National businesses to help with funding and/or sponsoring the pitch
- Approach LTA for support
- Apply for Section 106 Funding from the local authority
What help and support do we need?
- Useful contacts (including members of the local community) who can support us in our search for funding
- Help from members of Uffculme School's alumni who are also able to support us in our search from funding
- Assistance from people with bid-writing experience
- Support from other local sports clubs to highlight the need for a community pitch
- Help in influencing the local authority and council to support this project
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