Pitstone & Ivinghoe United FC officially unveiled their ground improvement works at Pitstone Sports Pavilion recently. This was thanks to a grant from the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) – the largest funders of non-league football in the country.
The funding has enabled Step 7 club Pitstone & Ivinghoe United FC, who play in the Spartan South Midlands League Division Two, to install new perimeter fencing and ball-stop netting. In addition, pitch improvement works have been undertaken to an area adjacent to the existing pitch, which would bring the site up to the standards required by the league to enable the club to progress to Step 6.
The project is set to improve a number of safety aspects around the ground. The new perimeter fencing enclosing the western perimeter of the ground means that Pitstone & Ivinghoe United FC’s home now meets the requirements of the FA National Grading Criteria for Step 7. Additionally, the ball-stop netting system installed also helps to prevent the loss of footballs into neighbouring National Rail infrastructure, where they cannot be recovered due to safety.
Founded in 1957, Pitstone & Ivinghoe United FC currently operates two open-age sides and an Under-21 development squad. Pitstone & Ivinghoe Junior Football Club, who have almost 200 members with ages ranging from five to 17, will also benefit from the improvements made at the ground during the upcoming 2018/19 football season.
The project was made possible by a £14,076 grant from the Premier League, which is delivered through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund – the sister organisation of the Football Foundation.
Paolo Aquila, Chairman of Pitstone & Ivinghoe United Football Club, said: “The club is delighted with the first phase of enhancements to the pavilion site which have been made possible through the support of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and the Premier League.
We look forward to working with the FSIF on future phases of development which will ultimately enable us to achieve our long-held aspiration of promotion within the league. It is frustrating for players to know that they play well enough to be promoted but are held back by the leagues due to inadequate site facilities. The FSIF and Premier League play an important role in helping clubs to address these issues.”
Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “It is fantastic to see Pistone & Ivinghoe United FC rewarded with a new stadium upgrade, thanks to investment from the Premier League delivered through the FSIF. The improvements undertaken at the club will provide a massive boost for the upcoming season.
Projects like this enable clubs to progress and push on through the National League System, helping match their ambitions with the necessary stadia infrastructure. This is a great moment for the club and I hope they can continue to progress up the football pyramid over the coming seasons."