Kick-off approaches for new football hubs in Wigan Borough

Kick-off approaches for new football hubs in Wigan Borough

A pair of football hubs providing top-class facilities could soon be ready for kick-off in Wigan Borough.

Council bosses have approved plans at two locations – William Foster playing fields in Ince and Laithwaite Park in Wigan - as part of a national initiative led by the Football Foundation.

There will be five full-size floodlit third generation (3G) pitches across the two sites along with changing rooms and community facilities, mirroring other successful hubs already up and running in Sheffield, Liverpool and Sunderland.

Councillor Nazia Rehman, cabinet member for resources, finance and transformation, said: “This is an exciting step forward and we can’t wait to see the new hubs.

“Providing facilities like these will have a significant health and wellbeing impact in our communities and making sport available to all is an important part of the Deal 2030.”

Cabinet members voted in favour of the schemes at a meeting earlier this month, meaning the council and the Football Foundation will share the development costs.

Works are expected to start next month with a provisional opening date of September 2022. Local opportunities for work experience placements are part of the plans.

It would add to a festival of football feel across the borough with the Women’s Euros also arriving – with fixtures at Leigh Sports Village – around the same time.

The Football Foundation is the Premier League, The FA and Government’s charity.

Formerly known as Parklife, its Football Hubs programme provides high-quality, affordable and sustainable multi-pitch hubs that can be used all year round and is backed by the Government.

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The news that the council has approved plans for these sites will undoubtedly provide a boost for grassroots sport in the North-West.

“Funding from the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, has played a vital role in making this project a reality.

“Thanks to their investment facilities like this will have a transformative impact on people’s physical and mental health, bringing them together and benefitting local economies. It’s essential communities up and down the country can access good places to play.”

The hubs will be managed on a charitable basis by a new national football trust, with council representation at a local level.

Generated income will be used to cover maintenance costs and to support grassroots football across the whole borough.

Posted on Thursday 16th September 2021

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