Blackburn Rovers were well represented at the grand opening of the East Lancashire Football Development Association's new sports hub at the Woolridge Playing Fields - a great boost for the quality of sports provision in the Pleckgate area of Blackburn.
A delegation led by Blackburn MP Kate Hollern was also joined at Sunday’s ribbon cutting ceremony by U23 coach Damien Johnson and players Stefan Mols and Ben Paton, as well as Blackburn Rovers Community Trust representatives Gary Robinson (chief executive), Uwais Patel (trustee) and Adam Aspinall (coach).
They all turned up to see the impressive range of facilities now on offer at Pleckgate Road thanks to an upgrade of nearly £100,000 - creating new changing rooms for players and officials, first aid facilities, kitchen areas and office space - which was made possible thanks to financial backing from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund. It brings recent spending on the site to nearly £1m after additional improvements to the site’s pitches in the past couple of years.
Additionally, Blackburn Rovers Ladies will host their youth academy games and reserve team matches at Woolridge Playing Fields.
Speaking about the enhanced sports offering in the town - which will help to support a 116% increase in participation at the site - Blackburn Rovers chief executive Steve Waggott explained:
“It is always great to see a range of key partners working together to develop and realise a vision and five year plan aimed at increasing participation in football and sport at grassroots levels via the improvement of community facilities.
"The multi-hub site at Pleckgate Road provides the opportunity for a range of groups to use the pitches and other upgraded facilities that will play be an essential element in further community integration across the area.
"We all understand the numerous benefits grassroots football and sports brings to communities and with adults, juniors, veterans, disability teams, AHF FC and Blackburn Rovers Ladies Academy teams all using this site it clearly demonstrates that people of all ages and levels can access and use this modernised community facility.
"We should all applaud Blackburn with Darwen Council, the East Lancashire Football Development Association, the Football Foundation and Lancashire Football Association for achieving the first step in their ambitious Football Development Plan and all at Blackburn Rovers Football Club will be fully supportive of this and all future community projects within the plan.”