George Friend

You've got a Friend in Me - Boro defender George Friend opens new 3G pitch at Kader FC

Middlesbrough FC defender George Friend joined the celebrations at Kader FC recently (Tuesday 19 February), officially opening the club’s newly-refurbished third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP).

The new pitch was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government, through their charity, the Football Foundation. The grant helped to transform a sand-based AGP to create a 102m x 63m floodlit 3G AGP complete with replacement boundary fencing to secure the site.

As one of the largest, most established junior football clubs in North Riding, Kader FC’s history dates back to 1976. The refurbished pitch will enable the club to further grow and help reduce the cost of hiring local venues for winter training and matches.

Kader FC were awarded a £363,967 grant from the Football Foundation towards the project. The council worked alongside the Football Foundation and the North Riding 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.

The new pitch is set to enable Kader FC to nearly double in size over a five-year period, growing from 25 to 47 teams. This will support a predicted increase of 306 players at the club, which represents a growth of 75%.

A significant growth in the number of girls playing at the club is also expected to rise thanks to the creation of 12 new girls’ teams across all junior age groups. The new teams will help introduce nearly 200 girls to affiliated football in North Riding, reflecting a 269% uptake at the club.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 256 grants worth £9.4m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £18.3m across the whole of North Riding County FA region.

Alan Formby-Jackson, Chairman and Treasurer at Kader FC, said: "We'd like to thank George for coming to the opening. We're really proud of the facilities we now have at Kader, so for the Middlesbrough captain to take time out and visit us was brilliant. A huge thanks too to the Football Foundation for all their support in this project."

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The support of the Premier League, The FA and government enables the Football Foundation to help improve community sports facilities across the country. Their funding has played a key role in delivering this newly refurbished state-of-the-art 3G AGP in Middlesbrough and I am delighted for everyone associated with Kader FC.

“Taking part in community sport at any level offers many benefits and rewards, not least the opportunity for people to enjoy themselves and socialise with different members of the community.”