New community pitch opens at Chapel Gate

On 23 November we celebrated the opening of the new multi-sports pitch and refurbished changing rooms for the local community and for BU at Chapel Gate sports facility.

The versatile pitch will increase opportunities for people of any age and sporting ability in the local area to play sport, helping them enjoy a healthy and more active lifestyle.

AFC Bournemouth players Emiliano Marcondes, Katie Scadden, Abbie Jones and Holly Humphries came to the opening ceremony where local children and students from BU became the first to try out the new pitch. 

Helen Palmer, Head of Sport at BU said, “I’m so excited, we wanted to put Bournemouth University on the map in terms of sports facilities and we wanted to have the best for our students and staff. As well as this, about eight percent of Chapel Gate use is by the local community and grassroots sport is how we can inspire children for lifelong physical activity.”   

The development of new facility has been supported by £1.7 million grant from the Football Foundation and the FA and is available for hire by schools, community groups and local residents. It can be used as one full-size football pitch or multiple pitches for five and seven-a-side matches. Other sports, including rugby and American football, can also be played on it.

Dean Potter, Director of Grant Management at the Football Foundation said, “The Football Foundation exists to transform lives and improve communities, and this is a fantastic example of how we are able to use our funding to its greatest effect here in Bournemouth.”

The changing rooms and shower blocks have also been refurbished to complement the latest redevelopment of the site.

Bournemouth University purchased the Chapel Gate site in 2019 and this is the latest in a series of investments made as part of our commitment to bring the best possible sporting facilities to the region. Previous upgrades include the hockey pitches, enhancements to grass pitches, infrastructure and improved lighting.

Emiliano Marcondes, midfielder for AFC Bournemouth, said, “It is amazing to see this new pitch that Bournemouth University have created. Sport is a great tool to build our communities and I am happy to see that they are doing a lot towards this here and it makes me want to join in!”

Jim Andrews, Chief operating Officer at Bournemouth University said, “This is really exciting for Bournemouth University and our local community. Since taking on the site we have been committed to bringing it up to a professional standard and making it a valuable hub for community sport. We will continue to invest, and we want to enhance the facilities even further so we can get more school use on site and more sports – in particular we’d like to improve the provision for disability sport.”