Lord Pendry, President of the Football Foundation, has officially opened Burnley’s new £2.5m Prairie Sports Village.

The ceremony included the unveiling of a plaque by Lord Pendry, as well as speeches and presentations by representatives from Burnley Leisure and Burnley Council.

More than 100 guests including council and leisure trust staff, local councillors, sporting governing bodies, and construction industry representatives attended the event, as well as local golf star, Michael Hunt, Lancashire’s most capped player.

This ambitious project was made possible through a £350,000 grant from Sport England and a £350,000 grant from Football Foundation as well as other financial support from Burnley Council and Burnley Leisure.

Lord Pendry said: “I was delighted to officially open the new Prairie Sports Village in Burnley. The new hub is a tremendous improvement on the previous facilities which were in need of repair.

“The changing rooms funded by the Football Foundation will serve members of the local community and local clubs for a multitude of sports, providing a safe and comfortable environment to prepare for matches and training.

“These facilities in Burnley are a prime example of the Football Foundation’s commitment to supporting projects like this up and down the country, with investment generously provided by our funding partners, the Premier League, The FA, Government and Sport England.”

Managed by Burnley Leisure, the state-of-the-art complex houses a 16-bay golf driving range, the golf and football academy, a classic cuisine bistro, a golf pro shop, and a multi-purpose studio.

The golf teaching academy is equipped with the latest technology including golf simulator and GC2 launch monitor, which allows players to track their results, enhance the performance and play golf courses from around the world.

PGA golf professional James Major is operating a coaching programme from the site for anyone interested in playing the sport.

Cllr Bea Foster, Burnley Council’s executive member for leisure and culture, said: “The opening of the new Prairie Sports Village is an exciting and significant milestone for the borough and we’re very delighted to have Lord Pendry to officially launch it.

“It is really a first-rate facility for the community and for holding major local and regional events and competitions in some sports.

“Since its opening the Prairie has proved a massive hit attracting more than 35,000 visitors and golfers coming not only from Burnley, but also from surrounding areas including Clitheroe, Pendle, Todmorden and Skipton.”

The facility also boasts the FA approved floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass football pitch and new changing rooms that were made available thanks to the Football Foundation’s grant.

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Burnley Borough Council to upgrade Prairie Sports Village. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.

“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.”

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