Hungerford Town Council (HTC) has recently announced its involvement in an exciting new project at John O’Gaunt School in collaboration with Excalibur Academies Trust and Hungerford Football Club. The successful outcome would result in a third-generation (3G) all-weather pitch being built within the grounds of the school and would be one of the first in West Berkshire.
This project, identified as a strategic priority by the Berks and Bucks Football Association and the Football Foundation, would be a huge asset to Hungerford bringing significant investment into the town. This community facility would be available to all regardless of age or ability, providing opportunities for social interaction and recreational sports as well as competitive sports and professional training.
“We are hugely excited to be working in partnership with our Trust, Hungerford Town Council and Hungerford Football Club on this project, ” Richard Hawthorne, Head of School at John O’Gaunt said. “As a school at the heart of our community, knowing that we can achieve something that benefits our students, and the local area fits perfectly with our ethos.”
Currently Hungerford Football Academy is based at Newbury College and this would enable it to return to Hungerford. The current pitch used by Hungerford Juniors is not fit for purpose. “We have been unable to grow the club due to lack of facilities and training,” Patrick Chambers, Chair of Hungerford Football Club commented. “This would allow us to develop a ladies’ section, grow the academy and run tournaments. We would be able to make better use of the Club for events and presentations.”
HTC is in negotiations with West Berkshire Council to obtain a lease on land that will enable ample space for the 3G pitch and additional grass pitches. SLPC Consulting is supporting with the applications to the Football Foundation and other grant funding organisations. A contractor has been appointed and a planning application will made in the coming months.
“Hungerford Town Council is thrilled to be involved with this project,” Town Mayor Councillor Helen Simpson said. “Collaborative working with key partners will offer our community a showstopper facility which will enhance JOG school, the football club/academy, as well as serving our community with a facility to enhance the health and well-being of residents.’
A bid is being made to the Football Foundation for a significant proportion of the funding, making this build possible. The target would be reached with further support from local organisations and the community.