On Friday 25th January, South Devon College played host to stakeholders in officially opening the College’s brand new, state-of-the-art South Devon College Sports Centre.
To mark the completion and delivery of the inspirational new Centre facilities, in attendance were key representatives from the College, the Football Foundation (FA), Linden Homes, Midas Construction, Torquay United Community Sports Trust, The Devon FA, Pro:Direct Sport, Torbay Council, 3d Leisure, Torquay United FC, and local football clubs.
Compromising a latest generation all weather 3G pitch, changing rooms, community room teaching space and a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) pitch – the completion of the brand new sports complex has been made a reality due investment from South Devon College, Linden Homes and the Premier League & FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation.
Designed with a strong emphasis on local community, the South Devon College Sports Centre will be operated by 3d Leisure in partnership with South Devon College. It will act as a central sports hub for College students as well as inspiring residents across South Devon in using the facilities for a wide range of sports and activities including football, basketball and netball.
The Centre will also become the official home to the College’s resident Pro:Direct Devon Football Academy. A major attraction towards studying at South Devon College, the ever- growing Academy currently involves over 55 dedicated students training several times a week playing matches all over the country. Upon completion, the Centre will be able to host even more fixtures for teams all across the South West region, helping to nurture the next generation of emerging talent.
Thrilled to witness the completion of the Centre, Principal and CEO of South Devon College Stephen Criddle OBE said, “It’s fantastic to see the construction of the exceptional Sports Centre facilities reach completion. We are very appreciative of the collaborative efforts from all involved in this exciting initiative, from the dedicated construction team, architects, and the Premier League & FA Facilities Fund for their essential support.
The Centre will help further ensure the delivery of the highest level sport education and wider training across our range of academic activities including students on South
Devon High School, further education, higher education curriculum and apprenticeship programmes. The Centre will also provide a huge opportunity for the College to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to engage in local sport, wellbeing and physical activities.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said, “Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am delighted that South Devon College has now opened their state-of-the-art Sports Centre in the Torbay area thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities.”
Bradley Davison, Managing Director of Linden Homes South West, said: “We are pleased to have contributed to this fantastic facility which will benefit the students at South Devon College, as well as the wider community. We’re creating over 340 new homes at White Rock and our residents will now have more opportunities to keep active, meet their neighbours and stay healthy thanks to this excellent initiative. It will also inspire the next generation to take part in sports and work as part of a team.
“The opening of the state-of-the-art sports centre shows what can be achieved when you work collaboratively and it’s wonderful to see the facilities being enjoyed by so many.”
Business Development Director at Midas Construction, Mike Borkowski adds, “The Sports Centre will be an extensive and top-class facility. It’s been great to work in partnership once again with the College and to be part of such an important project bringing benefits not only for students of the College but to the wider community as well”.
South Devon College were awarded a £500,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The College has been working alongside the Football Foundation and the Devon County FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.
Pro:Direct Partnerships Manager Mike Price said “Pro:Direct is delighted be part of this new chapter for sport in the region and we’re proud to be working with such a progressive partner as South Devon College. The new centre is sure to inspire our young Academy players and those of the local football community. We are excited for
the potential of the Devon centre to exceed expectations given the premium facilities on offer.”
3d Leisure’s Regional Director Paul Dickinson said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with South Devon College to operate the new facilities outside of the curriculum times. Ever since we were involved in this project in 2016 we have been working closely with the College to develop a long term usage strategy that would ensure the success of the Sports Centre by offering the local community access to the first class facilities that have been developed. Users are able to book the facilities online through our recently launched website for long term and casual bookings when required. We already have a number of key partners in place who are hiring the facilities on a regular basis but there are still times available for anyone looking to use the pitch on a long or short term basis.”
South Devon College is also thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership with Torquay United which also involves making use of the new 3G Pitch and wider College facilities to support their training programmes.
Torquay United Manager Gary Johnson said, “The facilities at the College including the new pitch are at the highest level, suitable for any professional team. I’m interested to see the local talent which will come through the academy in the years to come, the sports centre will go a long way to improving the standard of local football within the community”.
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