Brookvale Recreation Centre in Runcorn unveiled its new floodlit, 3G pitch as the whistle blew to start the Premier League Everton in the Community Kicks tournament.

The 100m x 64, LED floodlit, 3G pitch replaces the previous sand-based artificial turf and was made possible by a £303,284 grant from the Premier League, The FA and the Government’s Football Foundation

The pitch, with its top quality surface, will be used by local football clubs including Beechwood JFC, Brookvale Untied, Runcorn Sports FC and Ormiston Bolingbrook Academy, and Cheshire Police’s Kops N’ Kids (KOPS’ stands for Keep on Playing Sport), with the hope that more local people will be encouraged to get involved and to enjoy the benefits of playing regular sports.

Cllr Paul Nolan, the Council’s Executive Board Member for Leisure, said: “I would like to thank Cheshire County FA who worked with Halton Borough Council to secure Football Foundation Funding for this brilliant new facility at Brookvale Recreation Centre.

“We know that getting involved in sports and exercise is great for young people’s physical and mental wellbeing, but joining in also creates opportunities for young people to make new friends, have fun and learn life skills like working as part of a team, motivation and overcoming challenges.

“This is an excellent facility that is open for all of community to use and enjoy, I really do hope it inspires people to come along and join in an activity.”

The first official event on the pitch was the Premier League Everton in the Community Kicks tournament with up to six teams of under 12s from across the North West competing against each other. Two of the teams were made up of Halton children, representing Everton in the Community.

All the children have been attending free Monday night football sessions at Brookvale, run by Everton in the Community, with the backing of the Cheshire Police Kops N Kids programme.

PC Ian Hampson of Runcorn Local Policing Unit has been closely involved in the programme and has been working with the team at Brookvale Recreation Centre for a number of years to deliver activities that young people can get involved with.

Talking about the new facilities PC Hampson said: “The opening of the 3G pitch at Brookvale Recreation Centre is going to have an extremely positive impact on the local community. The Kops N Kids programme, run by Cheshire Police, is dependent on facilities such as the new pitch which helps to give children the opportunity to get out of the house, try new sports and activities. It allows children to be physically active, and it helps to promote mental health and well-being in the children.

“This is just one of the many things that Cheshire Police are doing to fight against anti-social behaviour, and follows the launch of the ‘the My Hidden Chimp’ programme which was funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner and is designed to help children with confidence issues.”

The pitch was officially opened by the Mayor of Halton, Cllr Mark Dennett.

About Kops n Kids

Kops n Kids has not only given children the opportunity to get out of the house and playing football, but it has also allowed some children to build confidence leading to reducing personal issues and breaking down the barriers between children and police officers.

Kops n Kids has in the past facilitated other sports in the past as dance, badminton, yoga, glow football. It has catered for all not just tho0se who enjoy playing football – giving experiences /sports /activities that some kids would never do.

The programme which was re-launched in 2019 attracted over 2,500 children in the first year and then had its biggest challenge during the Covid-19 pandemic but it still managed to provide enjoyment for children aged 8-16.