College sports pitch set for major upgrade after grant

09:47 01 May 2014

Exmouth Community College principal Tony Alexander is pictured with sports staff, college and primary school students on the pitch that will be revamped with help from Sports England. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 0801-18-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on Photo Orders

Exmouth Community College principal Tony Alexander is pictured with sports staff, college and primary school students on the pitch that will be revamped with help from Sports England. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 0801-18-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on Photo Orders


School pupils and residents alike are set to benefit from a new £150,000 upgrade to a sports pitch at Exmouth Community College.

The project, for the smaller artificial pitch on the college’s Gipsy Lane site, has been made possible by a £75,000 grant from Sport England, match-funding money from the college, and East Devon District Council leisure centre operators LED Leisure Management.

The cash will allow the fitting of new, hi-tech floodlighting, and a new 3G pitch, which will replicate grass and allow contact sports, including rugby and American football, to be played safely on it.

The change will mean the college’s teams will no longer have to worry about waterlogged pitches, or even getting muddy!

The grant has been secured thanks to hard work from the college’s head of PE, Richard Thompson, and Rob Rooksby, director of its Exmouth Raptors American football programme.

And it’s not just college pupils who will benefit, as the involvement of LED will allow members of the public to hire the facility in evenings and at weekends, while the work will also boost the college’s successful programme working with local primary schools.

College principal Tony Alexander said: “It’s the next step in our development as a school which has a higher sporting reputation.

“The whole community, from primary school children to adults, will benefit.

“We have done very well to get this grant. We have been assisted by Councillor Jill Elson and the local community to get these wonderful facilities, and I am particularly grateful to Mr Thompson and Mr Rooksby.”

LED chief executive Peter Gilpin said: “LED is delighted to hear that Exmouth Community College has successfully secured funding from Sport England towards the refurbishment of one of their artificial turf pitches.

“LED has pledged financial support towards this project and is looking forward to working in partnership with the college to facilitate the improved community use that this will enable, particularly at evenings and weekends.

“This will benefit a number of sports clubs as well as provide an alternative facility for activities that will be affected by the forthcoming alterations to Exmouth Leisure Centre, such as five-a-side football.”

Although the new surface will be a great improvement for users, there is a chance that the project could yet produce even greater benefits.

With a few months until work gets underway on the new surface, the college is also hoping to raise an additional £65,000, which would allow it to extend the pitch by five metres in length and eight metres in length.

The college is therefore asking any local businesses or benefactors who might be interested in helping with this to come forward, by emailing Mr Rooksby at

News of the upcoming project has not just been welcomed locally, with the Exmouth Raptors programme’s importance for the sport of American football in the UK reflected by how the news has been greeted by its governing bodies.

Director of the British American Football Association (BAFA) Andy Fuller said: “‘BAFA is very pleased and excited to see Exmouth successfully gain the Sport England funding for the redevelopment of their small astroturf.

“This will be very important for the sporting community of the area but of course, our specific interest is in how this will further the American football programme that has been successfully established at the college since 2010 and is a ‘flagship’ BAFA programme.

“Congratulations to all concerned; a tremendous achievement.”

David Tossell of NFLUK said: “‘NFLUK was pleased to hear the news that Exmouth Community College had been awarded £75,000 towards the cost of upgrading a small astroturf pitch.

“Not only will this benefit the entire sporting community of Exmouth but also it will allow the college’s American football programme to move forward in a new and exciting way.

“We wish everyone concerned congratulations on the bid’s success.”

Richard Fuller MP said: “‘It was with great pleasure that as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on American football I received the news that Exmouth Community College had been successful in their Sport England bid.

“This is an important recognition of one of the country’s leading American football programmes.

“The benefits to the community and also to the development of the American football programme at the college will no doubt be significant.

“We offer our congratulations to all those involved in securing this funding and will watch the developments at the college with much interest.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Exmouth Journal visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Exmouth Journal staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Exmouth Journal account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

These photos of the Royal Clarence Hotel are thought to the last ever taken before the historic building was ravaged by fire, ripping through the building from a gallery next door. The images were taken by a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary.

Read more

Exmouth firefighters were among the early crews battling to prevent a blaze raging through a Cathedral Yard gallery from spreading to the historic Royal Clarence Hotel - the oldest hotel in the UK. The fire service expects to be on-scene for the next 24 hours.

Read more

More pictures of the Exeter fire.

Read more

Devon and Cornwall Police have said road closures will remain in place overnight as fire fighters continue to tackle a blaze in Cathedral Yard.

Read more

This is the moment an Exeter postgrad astrophysic saw the roof of the historic Royal Clarence Hotel catch fire.

Read more

South West Water has called on its customers to limit water usage as fire fighters concentrate on tackling a blaze in the city centre.

Read more

Fire continues to rage on in Exeter’s Cathedral Yard with reports of crumbling masonry at the historic Royal Clarence Hotel.

Read more

Chief reporter, Becca Gliddon, captures the atmosphere.

Read more

A special service will be held at Exeter Cathedral at 5.30pm this evening (Friday).

Read more

Photographer Jolyon Holroyd, brought up in Budleigh Salterton, managed to snap the moment fighter fighters tackled the blaze from above.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 14°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Photo Orders
Family notices
Google Plus
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications