About BerkoAstro

The story so far...

November 2010 heralded the completion of the 3G Artificial Grass Pitch

Ashlyns School and Berkhamsted Raiders Community Football Club (Raiders) joined forces at the end of 2007 to form a joint project team to provide Berkhamsted with a full-sized floodlit all-weather pitch and changing pavilion.

This is Phase One of developing better sports facilities for Ashlyns School and Berkhamsted community. Some years ago Ashlyns School embarked on a project to provide a sports hall and floodlit all-weather hockey pitch as the school’s sporting facilities had not been improved since it was built in 1935. Unfortunately funding was not forthcoming so the project didn’t progress. Developing partnership with Raiders, the school and club can work together to provide this true community project.
Berkhamsted is short of an area the size of 26 full sized football pitches on which to play football. Even with this extra space, the town would not reach the Council’s desired provision of 2.07 hectares per 1000 population. There are other schools in the area which have fantastic sporting facilities, but not only are these oversubscribed but many are a good distance away, which is why it is vital for Berkhamsted itself to offer better sporting facilities.

In Spring 2008, our planning application was submitted and after a lengthy consultation process involving local residents, Berkhamsted Town Council and Dacorum Borough Council, planning permission and listed building consent were finally granted for a full-sized floodlit all-weather pitch and changing pavilion.

The school is housed in a Grade II listed building and whilst the school buildings look impressive, budget constraints have prevented the school from making any major improvements to the sporting facilities for many decades. The site of the proposed pitch and pavilion is owned by the school and currently forms part of the school’s playing fields at the rear of the school buildings. The pavilion will involve the extension and refurbishment of an existing disused garage building, adjoining the playing fields, which has fallen into disrepair. This pavilion, whilst part of Phase One, will be incorporated into our Phase Two project which will be the sports hall.

Towards the end of 2008, the project team prepared a draft application to the Football Foundation, who we hope will be the major contributor to this £1million+ project. The project had a setback in the January 2009 when the Chairman of Berkhamsted Raider CFC, Paul Beard, died suddenly.

The project took on a new head of steam in September 2009 with a change in management at Ashlyns and the appointment of a new Chairman of Raiders, Keith Pollard. It was decided to split the project down further and separate the all weather pitch from the changing room. The pitch would cost approximately £560K.
A revised bid was submitted in April 2010 and by July we had been granted an award from the Football Foundation and work started in July.

The latest addition to our facility is the conversion of the derelict garages adjacent to the pitch into a classroom/meeting room, toilets, catering and referee facilities. It was officially opened by Caroline Beard on 8th September 2012 and has proved a real asset enhancing the facility. Watford Football Club hold training sessions, we host birthday parties and it’s a great place to meet during training session! During the Christmas break we have even extended the outside area with decking, ready for the spring.

The conversion was made possible due to funding obtained from Sports England, Inspired Facilities fund, and the Football Foundation plus a generous donation from Majestic.

The next stage in our program of improvement is to provide changing facilities.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our sponsors.

Who will benefit from the Astro?

Berkhamsted desperately needs better sporting facilities to help the young people of this community and our surrounding areas to increase their opportunities to participate.

During the school day and in the early evenings, the facility will benefit all students at Ashlyns and its feeder schools, who are in close proximity and this will mean some 2,000 children from the ages of  5 –19 years will benefit. We have shared our project plans with these other schools and we already have their support for what is recognised to be a major community project.  The facility will ultimately be used through our extended schools provisions for the benefit of the whole town and further afield.

The facility will be made available for use from 9am until 10pm Monday to Saturday and from 9am until 9pm on Sundays. The pitch will be available for use as a full-sized pitch for matches or training during the school day and will be divided into 3 mini pitches for training primarily after school and at the weekend. Whist the pitch is designed for competitive football matches, it will also be used for many other sports such as hockey practice, rugby practice and fitness training to name a few.

The proposed pavilion will encompass 4 changing rooms for use by teams using the all-weather pitch and also the existing grass football pitches on the school site.  They could also be made available for use with the other facilities at the school such as the tennis courts, netball courts, cricket pitches, athletics track and grass hockey pitches.

The pavilion will also incorporate a training room for use during the school day and for sports courses, enabling classes and teams to learn the theory and then try this out in practice on the adjoining pitches. Other facilities to be incorporated in the pavilion are referee changing rooms, a First Aid room and a kitchen so that refreshments can be made available to participants, spectators/parents when the pitches or training room are in use.

Website by LT Consulting and Junction 9 | Images courtesy of Thompson Bradford Architects Ltd