The Len Forge Centre in Eastwoodbury Lane, Southend-on-Sea, welcomed MP Anna Firth for a facility tour on Friday 1st December to highlight an example of the positive impact that investment has made for her constituents to date.
Firth, Member of Parliament for the Southend West constituency, received a walkaround of the facilities which was followed by a discussion of planned investment in the area. She met our Chief Executive, Brendan Walshe, and Head of Development & Investment, Nick Emery, as well as Football Foundation Chief Executive, Robert Sullivan. Details were shared of the long-term vision to add an additional pitch at the centre.
Further plans include improving the ancillary provision, alongside Southend-on-Sea City Council, and an aim to obtain sufficient partnership funding to take the project forward. In addition to this, the County FA have two other 3G Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) projects across Southend currently in the pipeline. One is at Shoeburyness High School, which is due for submission in 2024, and another is for an additional pitch at Garon Park, expected to be submitted beyond June 2025.
Reflecting on her tour, Anna observed: “It was a delight to meet with the Essex County Football Association and the Football Foundation over the weekend at the fantastic Len Forge Centre in Southend. The talent of the future will grow up playing on pitches like these and ensuring children have access to brilliant facilities is crucial, so I will always champion such brilliant work.”
Brendan also found the visit progressive and rewarding. He commented: “Good facilities make a huge difference to players' enjoyment of the game, and facility development can really help to grow and sustain participation.”
Nick continued: “We’re proud to play a key strategic part in ongoing facility developments alongside the Football Foundation. They do extraordinary work thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and the Government to improve grassroots infrastructure, providing every child with opportunities to play the game.”
Find out more about the facility development work which takes place across Essex by following this link. Information is also shared by @EssexCountyFA on Twitter/X and via the ‘Essex Football’ page on Facebook.