New pitch and facilities for Salford schools and local football team

Gary Neville co-owner of Salford City helps launch the new football playing fields in Salford

Children attending neighbouring Primary Schools, Lewis Street and Christ Church CE in Eccles, had the chance to experience their new playing surface for first ever time. Newly formed junior football club, Salford City JFC U10’s have teamed up with the two local schools to share facilities at the newly created sports field.

The sports pitch, which will be the home of Salford City JFC U10’s, was officially opened by Gary Neville, who is an owner of Conference Premier side Salford City FC and chair Karen Baird at a special event attended by over 100 children, parents and the local community.

Speaking at the event Gary said: “We cannot under estimate how important playing sports is for children – for their health, development and sheer enjoyment – and I am so pleased Salford City is able to play its part by looking after the pitch, so not just our under 10’s team but the children from Lewis Street and Christ Church can develop and show off their sporting skills and talents.”

Executive head teacher of both Lewis Street and Christ Church CE Schools Wendy McCormack said: “Our children have never been able to play on a proper grass playing field and I was delighted when Will Lewis of OBI approached me to see if we would share it with Salford City JFC.

“I am over the moon with how everything has turned out. Thanks to all the hard work from the Salford City U10’s kids and parents and also Will and his team – not only do we have a playing field which will make a whole world of difference to our school children, but we have a new addition to the local community too. For the first time in over 100 years we now have a green outdoor space to utilise.”

OBI founder Will Lewis is chairman of Salford City JFC U10’s and had been looking for a home for the team. He heard the two primary schools had some land which could become a sports pitch but they needed help to bring it up to a safe standard for children to play on.

Will Lewis said: “Helping to turn the derelict land into a high quality sports pitch so the children can play on it in safely, was a whole new experience and it’s been amazing to see the effort from the players’ parents and kids themselves to help make this happen. Local resident Craig Doyle must have mowed the pitch 30 times in the past six weeks and that just shows the sort of commitment gone into this.

“The whole OBI team visited the pitch for an afternoon to help pick stones, bricks and glass from the pitch. It’s been a real team effort all round. I’d especially like to thank Charles Henderson, who is one of the leading experts in sports pitches for his advice on planting and maintenance.”

OBI also brought in one of the world’s leading experts on sport’s pitches Charles Henderson to provide practical advice and support to ensure Salford City JFC will be able to keep the pitch in top condition. Charles works for PSD Agronomy Ltd, a sports pitch consultancy company that works with football and rugby clubs from grassroots to the Premier League.

Charles said: “Our passion is to provide sports clubs with proper grass pitches and I am very proud to have been able to help with this project. We’ve been able to completely revitalise an unused grassed area but we’ve achieved it using a clever model which means the maintenance and care of the pitch is straightforward so the committed Club volunteers will be able to give their teams a taste of playing on quality natural grass surfaces that has previously only been available to top clubs.”

School governor Councillor David Jolley said: “I am delighted for Wendy and the children at her schools, it is fantastic to see the community coming together to create essential sporting facilities for children to enjoy for many years to come.”

Salford City JFC U10’s manager Stuart Ratcliffe said: “We now have the best playing surface in the league and can’t wait to kick off our season with our first home game this weekend.”