Pupils get first taste of new pitch

Students got their first taste of a new all-weather sports pitch created as part of a £500,000 project at a Norfolk school. The facilities at Northgate High in Dereham will be used by pupils during the school day and then by the wider community at evenings and weekends.

Students got their first taste of a new all-weather sports pitch created as part of a £500,000 project at a Norfolk school.

The facilities at Northgate High in Dereham will be used by pupils during the school day and then by the wider community at evenings and weekends.

A £400,000 grant from the Football Foundation - the UK's biggest sports charity - has turned the dream into reality.

The 66m x 44m synthetic carpet pitch filled with "third generation" rubber crumb and with floodlights has been finished.

The pitch - similar to one at Norwich City's Colney training ground - has mini and full-sized goals and can be used for a range of sports including football, hockey and rugby.

The project also includes four new team-sized changing rooms, plus areas for officials and facilities for spectators, which are still being completed.

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The facilities will be in full use from September but a group of students were given an early taste to promote two sessions being held next week when local clubs and players can try it out.

The sessions are on Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm-8pm. Letting charges and hire details will be available on the evenings.

The scheme has been largely down to a partnership between the school, Dereham Wanderers FC and Dereham Town FC.

The Football Foundation has also provided an additional £21,000 over the next five years, which will go towards the employment of a football co-ordinator.

Northgate's head of PE Chris Price said: "It is a massive boost for the school and it increases the range of things we can do and shows the school's belief that sport matters."

Contact the school on 01362 697033 to book a place at one of the taster sessions next week.