York City legend unveils upgraded football hub

Former York City FC player Andy MacMillan has officially unveiled the upgrades made to Haxby Town Council’s Ethel Ward football hub in North Yorkshire.

The club worked in partnership with the North Riding FA to secure a £28,710 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

The grant enabled the Council to carry out vital surface improvement works at the site, which comprises: two full-size pitches; three Mini-Soccer pitches and 7v7 game provision. The funding also helped to upgrade the existing sports pavilion at the hub, improving the facility’s changing rooms. 

The upgrade project will benefit Haxby Town Council’s partner clubs, Haxby Town FC and Haxby JFC (HJFC), who use the site. Previously, both clubs had to carefully manage their matches and fixtures to avoid overuse of the full-size grass pitches – to avoid any further damage to the surface. HJFC and Haxby Town now have far greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling activity at the hub. 

The council worked alongside the North Riding FA and the Football Foundation 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. 

HJFC, which can count West Ham United FC defender Sam Byram amongst its former players, will establish new teams thanks to the improved facility. This will take their total from 19 to 29, and will include two brand new girls’ sides. Four new teams for players aged over 14 are also planned, increasing the provision to eight teams in total. As a result, football participation for the 14-25 age group will rise by 114%. The club will also introduce two new girls’ sides. 

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