Construction will be starting at the end of October and the new pitch should be ready for action by the spring.

Here’s the latest news from Alex Thomas, Friends’ trustee and PTA Chair, who’s been heavily committed for the last two years as Secretary to the 3G steering committee.

“It is with great pride and pleasure that we announce the arrival of a new floodlit all-weather sports pitch at the school. This announcement is possible due to recent city planning approval and a secure funding commitment from the Football Foundation, and the River Learning Trust. Construction plans are now well underway. 

At an approximate cost of £750,000 this, so far, has been our most ambitious project and funding was provided finally from the River Learning Trust, Cherwell School and the Football Foundation, who provided the lion’s share at just under half a million pounds.

The initial requirements studies for the project identified not only a school need but also a strong community need. So we approached two Standard Chartered football clubs Summertown Stars and Mansfield Road to join our steering committee and sought funding from several sources. To add professional weight to our cause Niall McWilliams, Oxford United’s Managing Director and Friends’ trustee, stepped forward to Chair our steering committee.

The committee developed detailed utilisation plans, set in place partnering agreements and developed the case for funding. In addition, we worked closely with Oxfordshire County Football Association who would eventually facilitate our funding application to the Football Foundation.

Funding, however, was dependent on a successful planning application, which itself was dependent on numerous surveys and assessments requiring appropriate consultants and contractors, the appointment of which fell again to our steering committee (who’d have thought that putting a sports pitch on a school field would attract such scrutiny!!). There are a few final surveys that need to be completed but these are progressing well at the time of writing.

So, we’re just about home and dry. We aim for construction to commence during the summer break and for the pitch to be available as close to the start of the new school year as possible.

It’s been a lot of work and a massive commitment of time and energy from Friends of Cherwell, using skills and knowledge from across the parent community.”

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