Richmond School and Sixth Form College says its plans for a new 3G pitch would buck the national trend of a lack of investment in community sports facilities.
As revealed by Richmondshire Today last month, the school is seeking planning permission and funding to transform an existing grass pitch into a hi-tech 3G facility.
The development would allow matches to be played all year round, regardless of weather conditions, transforming what is often an unusable quagmire into a class-leading resource for hundreds of students and members of local sports clubs.
The initiative has won the backing of the Football Foundation, the Premiership’s grassroots sports body. Richmondshire Rugby Club, Richmond Town FC and the Hockey Association have also welcomed the idea.
The pitch would feature the latest synthetic surface, sound deadening and approved floodlights which minimise light pollution
The 3G pitch would also maximise the use of peerless facilities outside the traditional school day and term time.
School leaders say it would represent the latest phase in a strategic plan to make Richmond School and Sixth Form College a “sporting hub for the community allowing sportsmen and women to hone their skills and improve health and wellbeing”.
“The aim was to create a sporting legacy for the whole community,” said headteacher Ian Robertson.
“The latest proposal would extend what we have achieved so far to reach more people in the community and encourage them to engage with sport.
“The existing grass pitch is so often put out of action by our weather. A 3G pitch would allow them to continue their sport all-year round, with all the associated benefits to their skills, health and mental well-being.
“When we started this strategy the town had poor provision characterised by mud and inadequate changing facilities.
“We have worked tirelessly to bid for and secure the necessary funding, are extremely proud of what we have achieved so far and I know the people who use the facilities absolutely love them.
“At a time of public spending cutbacks and a challenging economy, the scheme would be a welcome and exciting investment in community facilities and an incredibly positive opportunity for Richmondshire, a legacy that would last for generations to come.”