New Hybrid Football Pitch For Regent's Park
Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup final on Sunday which sees England play Spain, The Royal Parks charity has announced it will be creating a new natural grass hybrid pitch in Regent’s Park. The new pitch will enable the number of girls’ football teams playing in the Regent’s Park Youth League to treble from 32 to 110 teams by 2026.
The pitch has been made possible thanks to a grant of £380k from the Premier League, the FA and the Government’s Football Foundation. Also contributing towards the costs are Westminster Council and The Royal Parks. Works will begin next week, and the pitch will be match-ready by the end of the year.
Regent’s Park is home to The Hub, central London’s largest and most popular outdoor sports facility, with grass pitches for a variety of sports including football, rugby, lacrosse and cricket. Offering fantastic facilities in the heart of London, The Hub is continually looking for new ways to increase participation amongst under-represented groups.
David Ellis, Sports Manager at The Royal Parks, said: “We wish the Lionesses the very best of luck this Sunday and we’re behind them all the way. They have provided a huge boost to the popularity of women’s football in this country and have really inspired more girls and women to get involved in sport."
“The Royal Parks is committed to increasing community sport, and we want to encourage people from all walks of life to become more active and healthier. In particular, we are encouraging more girls’ and women’s teams to use our football pitches. We have seen girls’ football teams grow in Regent’s Park from 0 in 2018 to 32 today. With the creation of this new pitch, we want to treble that figure and we’d like to extend our thanks to the Football Foundation for providing a grant to help us meet our aspiration."
Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government, the Football Foundation is directing more money than ever into ensuring communities across the country have access to great places to play."
“Like every other facility the Football Foundation funds, the new hybrid pitch in Regent’s Park will provide equal access for women and girls, helping more people to enjoy all the benefits of participating in sport and physical activity.”
In 2017, The Royal Parks received a £400k donation from Sports England to trial a natural grass hybrid pitch in Regent’s Park with the aim of increasing the number of hours a sports pitch can be played on per week and improving the player experience. This was the first trial in the UK in a community setting. The outcome was extremely positive with the number of hours that could be played on the pitch doubling from 12 hours to 25 hours a week. Player satisfaction of the pitch also rose from an average of six out of ten to nine out of ten.
The new pitch will be a natural grass hybrid playing area with matting buried under the natural turf, allowing grass to grow through to help maintain the condition of the pitch throughout the year. Once fully grown, the visible blades of grass will be 90% natural and 10% artificial.