23 November 2015
Top marks for new pitch at Huish Episcopi Academy
In rural South Somerset, Huish Episcopi Academy boasts one of very few provisions for playing football, with the area identified by the Football Association (FA) as one in need of further development. This made it all the more concerning when the performance of the school’s ageing artificial pitch began to suffer, as players complained of cuts and grazes sustained from the surface.
With the school’s facility key not only to its 1,400 students, but also within the local community, decision-makers at Huish applied for a grant from the Football Foundation’s (FF) funding scheme. This would allow for a high quality replacement which would avoid injury, and build on the school’s strong reputation for sports.
The academy successfully secured funding from the Football Foundation, as well as South Somerset District Council, and suppliers from the National Framework for Football Turf Pitches were invited to tender for the contract.
After a strong submission, TigerTurf was chosen to deliver the pitch. The leading manufacturer supplied a Soccer Real 60 XQ pitch suitable to serve the school’s strong sports curriculum of football and hockey, as well as supporting extracurricular use from two large community football clubs. The installation itself was carried out by specialist contractor McArdle Sport-Tec, in just three months, with the work taking place towards the end of the academic year and through the school holidays to minimise disruption.
Amanda Eastwood, business manager at Huish Episcopi commented: “As a school we’re very good at sports, so having high quality facilities is very important to us. We were really in need of a new pitch, to improve the quality of sports provision for our students and replace the very quality surface that existed.
Play began almost immediately, with the new artificial grass pitch being used by students, local clubs and even the youth team from Football League club Yeovil Town during the first fortnight of its opening. Thanks to the high standard of the facility, Huish Episcopi has been chosen as an Advanced Coaching Centre for the South West pilot of the FA Girls’ England Talent Pathway, a bespoke pilot programme designed specifically to support the development and progression of players.
Paul Langford, managing director at TigerTurf UK : “We are always delighted to use our expertise to help deliver a pitch where it will have such a profound impact on the sports provisions for young people in the region. “The new pitch at Huish not only looks great, but will provide a reliable and valuable facility for students and others in the community over the long term.”