The Cymru Football Foundation have been working with Rhondda Cynon Taff Council to support participation in Ferndale through a surface upgrade at the facility in Darran Park.
In partnership with UK Government – RCT Council received a grant of just over £170,000 that has been used to develop a 3G playing surface to modernise and support participation in the local area.
Participation – female in particular – had suffered as a result of the surface depletion, however Sport RCT will now use the re-vitalised facility to encourage involvement amongst girls and young women, working with the local teams and schools to develop new competitive opportunities.
Since it’s opening in September 2023, the new facility has seen a huge increase in participation figures – with up to 4,600 people using the site per month compared to just the 80 using the facility pre-upgrade.
The facility is only the second 3G playing surface in the Rhondda Fach valley and will ease the demand on grass pitches in the region – eventually lowering the pitch maintenance costs.
Aled Lewis, Head of Operations at the Cymru Football Foundation said:
“Upgrading the playing surface at Darran Park will have a huge positive impact in the local area and encourage more players and better experiences. Working closely with RCT Council has given us a great insight into the impact this project will have and we’re looking forward to seeing it flourish.
“A huge thank you to UK Government for their support – we look forward to continuing to work with our partners to achieve our goal of Inspirational and Fit-For-Future Facilities across Wales.”
Councillor Ann Crimmings, Cabinet member for Environment and Leisure at Rhondda Cynon Taff Council, said:
“I’d like to thank the Cymru Football Foundation for their continued support, having worked very closely with the Council not only on the Darran Park upgrade, but also on our previous project at Baglan Field in Penyrenglyn. The Foundation does invaluable work in our communities, by working closely with local clubs and schools to develop participation opportunities for everyone.
“The Council has invested in new 3G sports pitches as they have many advantages over traditional grass surfaces. They do not deteriorate and can be used in all but extreme weather – so residents can continue to enjoy them through the winter months. They also enable local sports clubs to fulfil their busy calendar of fixtures, where previously games would have been called off.
“Bookings are now being accepted for the Darran Park pitch, and I’m sure residents in Ferndale and neighbouring communities will make great use of this fantastic facility for many years to come.”
The CFF supports the development of football through investment and guidance as it delivers the FAW’s commitment to develop inspirational fit-for-future football facilities that will improve and grow Welsh football both on and off the pitch.
The next round of Fit-for-Future Facilities funding will be available to access in October 2023 – you can find out more about the CFF by clicking here.