On Saturday, Mary opened Durkar Devils Junior Football Club’s new natural grass pitches in Newmillerdam.
The project was possible thanks to grants totalling £235,535 from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, the Premier League's Football Stadia Improvement Fund, Sport England’s Protected Playing Fields, and WREN’s FCC Community Action Fund.
The grant has enabled the club, who play at Step 7 in the Wakefield District Saturday League, to resurface and drain the natural grass pitches at their Slack Lane home.
There are now two full-size pitches, two junior-size pitches and one mini-soccer pitch at the site, which will be used by the club for training and matches. The club already have a changing pavilion at Slack Lane, which comprises two team changing rooms, an officials’ room and kitchen and toilet facilities.
Durkar Devils JFC worked in partnership with the Football Foundation and the Sheffield & Hallamshire FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP), which is a vision for how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.
The Plan predicts a growth from 11 to 24 teams, including teams at Under-6 age level.
Female provision will increase significantly, with the creation of a girls’ section consisting of seven sides. Previously, the absence of female teams has prevented the Charter Standard Club from making progress to Community Club status, so this section of the FDP is very important.
Following the event, Mary said: “It was a pleasure to open Durkar Devils JFC’s new real grass pitches alongside Football Foundation President, Lord Pendry. This is an important and significant development to the club, and it was wonderful to see girls and boys enjoying the new pitches on Saturday.
“Funding from the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, enabled the works to come to fruition, and this investment must continue for young people across the country to take part in sport and live healthier lives. Thanks to all involved in this project– I look forward to seeing the club go from strength to strength.”