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Football

Gorseinon school secures football kit boost

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A Swansea primary school is celebrating about receiving cash for new football kit and equipment.

Persimmon Homes West Wales has made a £1,000 donation to Pontybrenin Primary School in Gorseinon.

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Curtis Holden, football coach at the school, said: “We’re thrilled to receive this generous donation from Persimmon Homes.

“We recently represented all primary schools in Swansea at the national WSFA finals in Newtown.

“The children did really well and finished third in the whole of Wales. This money will allow us to buy new kit and equipment, which is a fantastic reward for them.

“It’s great to see Persimmon getting involved in the local community like this.”

Persimmon’s gift comes through its long-running Community Champions campaign.

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Each month the house builder donates up to £64,000 to good causes across Great Britain, including up to £4,000 in Wales.

Sharon Bouhali, Persimmon’s West Wales sales director said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Pontybrenin Primary School with this donation through Community Champions.

“The children did tremendously well in their recent tournament so I’m sure they will enjoy representing the school in their brand new kit.”

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Education

New £7m sports barn and 3G pitch for Swansea school

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A local contractor has been appointed to deliver a £7m project to transform sports and community facilities on the east side of Swansea which will also benefit the wider region.

The investment at Cefn Hengoed Leisure Centre and Community School will see a new sports barn complete with indoor 3G pitch and fitness studio as well as a re-purposed outdoor five-a-side pitch.

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It also includes a cafe and flexible spaces for use between the school, leisure centre and partners.

Other improvements will be made and the new layout will extend the opening hours of the leisure centre.

It is being funded by Swansea Council and the Welsh Government, with a £750,000 grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation with support from the Swansea City Foundation. Further contributions were made by Sport Wales, plus Freedom Leisure which manages the leisure centre on behalf of the council.

South Wales-based contractor Morganstone has successfully tendered to deliver the project and aims to start work as soon as possible.

The development should be completed by Autumn 2023.

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Artist’s impression of the new Cefn Hengoed sports barn (Image: Swansea Council)
The sports barn will house a new 3G pitch (Image: Swansea Council)
Artist’s impression of the new Cefn Hengoed sports barn (Image: Swansea Council)

Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism said: “We have a long standing commitment to improve sports facilities in this community but the project has hit a few bumps along the road, mainly around ground conditions at the site.

“We have used this time to further improve our plans and what is now going to be delivered is a state-of-the-art development that will benefit pupils, sports clubs and the wider community for many years to come.

“Sport is such an important part of so many peoples’ lives so I’m really pleased work is about to get underway.

“Just last month we opened a new all-weather pitch at the Phoenix Centre in Townhill and in recent years we have funded or provided support towards all-weather pitches at Penyrheol, Morriston, Pentrehafod, Gowerton, Bishopston, the Elba Sports Complex in Gowerton, Dylan Thomas Community School and we are progressing plans for Olchfa.

“Swansea Council recognises sport has huge physical, mental health and general wellbeing benefits and that is why we do all we can to provide modern and accessible facilities for all.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This grant award to Cefn Hengoed Leisure Centre and Community School towards developing a new sports barn is great news for the local community.

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“It will support people’s ability to play our national game locally and therefore help unlock football’s many benefits to physical and mental wellbeing.”

Helen Elton, Head of Swansea City AFC Foundation said: “The east side of Swansea needs this facility, and we are delighted that work can start after some delays.

“We were always keen to be involved and bring Football Foundation funds into this project to help them meet their aim of ‘helping transform communities where demand is greatest, and impact will be strongest’.”

Ivan Horsfall Turner, Freedom Leisure’s CEO said: “This is very exciting news and we at Freedom Leisure are delighted to be a part of something that will have such a massive impact on so many people in this area

“Our mission is to improve lives through leisure and this facility will sit right at the heart of the community, supporting and improving the health and well-being of everyone.”

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(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Football

College footballers see success in National competition

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NPTC Group of Colleges boys’ football team have finished in the top four in the UK.

The boys’ football team competed in the Association of Colleges football tournament at Nottingham competing against some of the best footballing further education colleges and sixth form teams in the UK.

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The team qualified for the tournament by winning the regional competition in Wales which meant they represented Wales in the British competition.

Playing eight games over two days, the team won four, losing three and drawing one. The team beat the eventual tournament winners Yeovil College 3-1 earlier in the tournament and were very proud of their performances across the weekend’s games.

Sport lecturer Lindsay Piper said: “The tournament was intense with each game being won or lost by small margins. The competition was tough, and the boys did a fantastic job representing the college and Wales”.

Llandarcy Academy of Sport students Tyrone Cadeau and Roan Piper were a key part of the team’s success at the tournament. The two were also part of the history-making Welsh school’s U18 team who won the 2022 centenary shield.

The tournament was contested by England, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales, with Wales finishing top of the table for the first time in 41 years.

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Both Tyrone and Roan played vital roles in the team’s success over the past two months with Wales recording three wins and one loss over their four games.

Wales secured the championship with a 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland in Caernarfon at the end of April, with Roan scoring the second goal.

(Lead image: NPTC Group of Colleges)

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Grassroots sports in Wales get £1.3m investment in UK Government Levelling Up announcement

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Beneficiaries of an initial £1.3 million investment in grassroots football facilities across Wales this year are announced by the UK Government.

In the Swansea Bay Region, Mumbles, Pontarddulais and Fishguard football clubs see over £140,000 in investment.

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Seventeen projects across Wales will receive funding to create and improve pitches, changing rooms and pavilions, so that more local communities can access high-quality facilities.

Projects have been chosen for their ability to deliver improved facilities in deprived areas, support multi-sport use and increase participation among currently under-represented groups, including women, girls and disabled players.

Mumbles Rangers AFC

Mumbles Rangers AFC who play at Underhill Park (pictured above) will receive £19,332 for essential grass pitch maintenance machinery. The club say this is so the pitch can effectively service the rugby and football teams across all age groups who use it.

The pitch has been upgraded over the last two years and supports two-day male and female football festivals with teams competing from across South Wales

The club will also invest £2,148 of its own funds towards the scheme.

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Pontarddulais Town FC

Pontarddulais Town FC who play at Coed Bach Park will get £98,842 to renovate an old changing room block that is no longer fit for purpose, bringing it back into use. The club say the funding will provide female toilet facilities and allow other community groups to benefit from the increased capacity.

The club will also invest £8,000 of its own funds into the scheme, in addition to £2,000 from Funds for Wales, £1,000 from Mynydd y Gwair wind farm and £3,477 from a voluntary works labour contribution.,

Fishguard Sports AFC

Further West, Fishguard Sports AFC who play at Tregroes Park will receive £26,072 to improve the drainage of the second pitch and purchase portable floodlights, so that it can be used into the evenings. The club say the poor drainage has prevented the club from expanding its offer, especially for ladies football, cricket and the U16’s disabled team which this project will unlock.

The club will invest £1,897 of its own funds, as well as £1,000 voluntary works labour contribution towards the scheme.

Investment in community facilities

The funding, combined with contributions from clubs and other local partners, will improve the quality of community facilities, bring people together to enjoy playing sport in their local area, regenerate communities and enhance social cohesion.

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It forms part of a £25 million UK-wide investment in grassroots facilities during this financial year, out of a total of £230 million set to be invested to help to build or upgrade up to 8,000 quality pitches across the UK over the next four years. The funding will also support the construction or refurbishment of clubhouses, changing facilities and community buildings.

The Football Association of Wales is delivering the programme on behalf of the UK Government in Wales. Following the UK Government’s commitment, the Welsh Government has also opted to invest £1.3 million to improve grassroots facilities this year – the FAW is working with both governments to maximise the benefits of this combined investment for local communities.

UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “We are committed to improving access to high quality sports facilities for the underprivileged and underrepresented in Wales.

“From female changing rooms at Treborth Playing Fields in Bangor to new pitches in Welshpool and Swansea, this will ensure more people can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of sport at top class facilities in their local community.”

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “Grassroots football clubs are at the heart of their communities, providing sporting opportunities but also bringing incalculable health and social benefits to local children and adults.

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“They play a hugely important role and I’m thrilled that the UK Government is making this investment in facilities the length and breadth of Wales which will help the clubs and groups receiving this funding to continue their fantastic work.”

Chief Executive Noel Mooney from the Football Association of Wales said: “The Football Association of Wales is pleased to be working closely with the UK and Welsh Governments to improve facilities across Wales and are grateful for their support.

Improving the facilities across Wales is the FAW’s number one strategic objective. This initial round of funding marks the beginning of an exciting journey, and the FAW will continue to work closely with all of its stakeholders, to create a facilities investment fund in order to deliver impactful projects across all corners of Wales as we strive to make football inclusive and accessible to all.”

Joint UK bid for Euro 2028

Today’s announcement follows a joint ‘Expression of Interest’ submitted to UEFA by the Football Associations of England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales on Wednesday (23 March).

The Governments of the UK, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have confirmed their support for the EOI submission and, given the Northern Ireland Executive is currently not meeting formally, officials there continue to observe the process closely.

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Formal discussions on the technical specifications for the tournament are expected to take place with European football’s governing body over the coming weeks, before a final decision is made on submitting a formal bid.

On the prospects of hosting UEFA EURO 2028, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston added: “This is welcome news from the FAs, and the Government remains committed to working closely with them and our partners in the Government of Ireland and the Devolved Administrations to bring UEFA’s flagship festival of international football to the UK and Ireland.

“Our unprecedented partnership creates the potential for the best EUROs ever, and we are passionate about bringing another world-leading sporting event here, creating a real celebration of football for people across the UK and Ireland.

“The government continues to demonstrate its commitment to sport and recreation, recently announcing that it is also investing £30 million to refurbish more than 4,500 tennis courts across the UK.”

(Lead image: Go Underhill)

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