Isobel Bowler Sports Ground pavilion
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Investing in grassroots football in Yorkshire
The £4.4m Isobel Bowler Sports Ground was constructed for Sheffield City Council and is part of the FA’s wider investment in grassroots football. It was built on the site of the old Westfield School and Sports Centre.
The Westfield football project is the third Parklife football facility to be created in Sheffield as part of a national partnership with the FA, along with sites at Sheffield Graves and Thorncliffe. It has come to fruition through a mix of funding from Sheffield City Council, the Football Association, the Football Foundation and Sport England. The centre is operated by Pulse Fitness, which also manages the football hubs at Graves and Thorncliffe. With over 800 football teams in Sheffield, the majority of which are junior and youth teams, this project was classed as an important addition to the city for sports participation, community activity and associated health benefits.
Robertson Yorkshire & East Midlands built a 1500m2, two-storey pavilion split over two floors. The building includes a coaching and education space, kitchen and bar area, and changing facilities on the ground floor, as well as a gym and fitness studio on the first floor. The project was split into two main areas – the main building and a 124-space car park with disabled access spaces.
It is part of an aim to halt a decline in grass-roots football and turn it from a sport that requires subsidy into one that generates surplus. We also want to invest in future facilities and the development of the sport. Football is Sheffield's biggest team sport with over 800 teams, the majority of which are junior and youth teams. It is significant for sports participation, community activity and associated health benefits. This partnership with the FA is a great thing for our city. I'm delighted to see this grassroots scheme moving forward."
Additional project information
As well as constructing the main building and car park at the facility, we also had to widen the main road for better access routes for site.
More street lighting was incorporated into the site and we also created a crossing point. Finally, we took on the role of landscaping – at an additional cost – that included a large area in which grass and trees were added, as well as habitats for wildlife.
Lasting value to the community alongside construction
In addition to the main project in the construction of the building and car park, Robertson also delivered a number of other aspects in the community, including:
- holding careers events at local high schools;
- organising two university careers events;
- and arranging site visits for two local youth football teams.
Images: © Football Foundation