Olympic Bronze Medal gymnast Amy Tinkler will be guest of honour to mark the completion of the work to install drainage and irrigation and resurface the pitch at Heritage Park on Saturday 25th February before the Bishop Auckland v Seaham Red Star Ebac Northern League game.
The project was made possible thanks to a £52,000 grant from the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the largest funders of non-league football in the country with the remaining funding coming from a bequest of Colin Rowell a loyal supporter who died in January 2015 aged 79 years.
The funding enables Bishop Auckland FC to play on a pitch which has been described as being of ‘Football League’ standard and the new irrigation allows the pitch to be watered more efficiently even right up to the start of the game in dry conditions.
The new facility comprises: new primary and secondary drainage and a new irrigation system installed under the surface of the pitch
This season Middlesbrough Football Club’s Under 18 team has played some of their FA Youth Cup games at Heritage Park.
Funded with £5.2m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.
Nick Postma, Chairman of Bishop Auckland Football Club said ‘the grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Scheme has been so gratefully received by the Club to help us resolve our issues with the pitch being frequently waterlogged but also we now have a pitch where teams can play good football which will help us in our ambition to play at the highest level possible’.