Latest News

expand informationWalking Football

Berkhamsted Raiders in association with Ashlyns Sports Centre & Watford FC are now running walking football session on a Monday evening at 7pm. Sessions take place in the new Ashlyns Sports Centre.

Click here to view the event flyer.

expand informationA Pitch with a View

We are pleased to announce plans have been approved to create a new viewing area and 115 seat Stand at BerkoAstro.

"A Pitch with a View" will increase the enjoyment of football at BerkoAstro for all involved. It will make BerkoAstro more marketable for games and training sessions, therefore increasing income to help us maintain these excellent facilities.

A great resource for our community, the new development will be funded jointly by Raiders and BerkoAstro and supported by the Berkhamsted Sports Grounds Charitable Association. The new facility will be constructed over the summer and will be open for start of the season in September.

You can help raise funds by Sponsoring a Seat. The sponsorship will last for three years with your name and message on the sticker which will then be applied to the seat.

Individual sponsor-a-seat donations are £50, Company Sponsor-a-seat donations are £100. You can donate at

Please include your chosen text for the seat in the comments.

If you have any questions please email John Rutherfurd on or call 0746 220 1210

Thanks for your support.

expand informationTuesday Nights at Berko Astro

From the 4th of June we have an evening of activities for the whole family..

6pm - 7pm Multisports 8 - 12 years (bookable in advance) - Download the booking form

7pm - 8pm Circuit Training 16 years + - More info

7pm - 8pm Just Play Sessions 16 - 18 years - Download the booking form or pay via our bookings page

8pm - 9pm Walking Football 16+ all abilities - More info

expand informationWalking Football


expand informationSnow Closure

Why BerkoAstro has to close when it snows

It has been a common mistake by manufacturers and advertisers to promote artificial pitches across the country as 'all weather'. BerkoAstro has had to close at some point during every winter. It is not 'all weather'.

Some people do not understand why a little snowfall can cause closure; we hope that the following will make things a little clearer.
When temperatures drop significantly, but there is no rain or snow fall, the pitch remains playable most of the time because frost does not have a detrimental effect on the surface, even though underneath the turf everything is frozen too.

Underneath the surface there is an array of different materials which have been used to create the playing surface we now have, including sand, concrete and rubber.  When snow falls the low core temperature of the turf and the insulating effect of the infill means that the snow cannot melt unless there is a dramatic change in temperature.

As much as we would like to get back open as quickly as possible, we cannot risk damaging the surface. Maintenance guidelines say it is impossible to remove any ice or snow from the artificial surface without damaging it, as the ice and snow sticks to the turf and infill, as well as being dangerous to play on from a slip hazard. It traps the fibres and risks them being permanently damaged or broken.

We do not take the decision to close lightly and have sought advice from a number of different maintenance suppliers and agencies to discuss ways we can solve the problem. As frustrating as it may sound, the best solution is to simply let it melt.

We will continue to look for safe and effective solutions to this problem.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience during this winter season. 

expand informationThe Paul Beard Centre at BerkoAstro is now open and taking bookings

The Official Opening was on Saturday 8th September 2012.

In Late 2011 we secured the final funds to convert a disused building on the edge of the Astro into a Pavilion with meeting room/class room space, toilets and the facilities to provide refreshments.

expand informationGrant from Sport England for BerkoAstro

The Inspired Facilities fund is part of the £135 million Places People Play legacy programme that is designed to bring the magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities across the country. Every sports facility that receives funding will carry the London 2012 Inspire mark – celebrating the link to the Games.


The grant of £ 35,000 is going towards Phase 2a of the BerkoAstro project which will enhance our 3G pitch facilities by upgrading one of the derelict garages adjacent to the pitch into a classroom/meeting room, toilets, catering facilities and referee. Special thanks goes to Steve Slater from Raiders who made the application.

Sport England’s Chair, Richard Lewis, said: “This investment will create a fantastic sporting legacy for Ashlyns School, Berkhamsted Raiders CFC and the local community.


“This fund has really hit the mark with sports clubs in the South East. It shows we’re offering the legacy that people want for their local community. For hundreds of clubs and tens of thousands of people, 2012 will be the year their local sports facilities got better.”

Berkhamsted Raiders Chairman, Keith Pollard, said: “Investment in facilities such as BerkoAstro will help us to develop the coaches, and the sportsmen and women who will deliver success at future Olympics”

The project is one of 350 local community sports groups who have been offered a total of £17.4 million in Olympic legacy funding through the Inspired Facilities Fund.

The investments announced today will breathe new life into tired facilities that can be unattractive to sports participants, difficult to maintain and run. Grants have also been offered to convert existing buildings into venues that are suitable for grassroots sport and to allow local clubs to buy the facilities they use.

Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, said: “We want to use the Olympic and Paralympics next summer to inspire a generation to get involved in sport across the country. This is why as part of the £135 million Places People Play legacy programme we invited community sports clubs to apply for funding to upgrade their facilities.”

Inspired Facilities has been designed to be as simple and accessible as possible for potential applicants, with a shorter form and a catalogue of ready-made options to choose from. This is the first of five funding rounds of Inspired Facilities; the second round opens on 1 February 2012, offering hundreds more local groups the chance to bid for a further £10 million of funding.

Places People Play is being delivered by Sport England. We are working in partnership with the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the British Paralympic Association (BPA) with the backing of The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the London 2012 Inspire mark.

LOCOG Chair, Seb Coe, said: “This is a fantastic funding project that will deliver a real legacy from the London 2012 Games. It will provide a whole range of sporting opportunities for young people through improved facilities and will I hope inspire them to take up sport.”

The announcement was welcomed by the Local Government Association. Cllr Chris White, Chair of its Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “In spite of budget pressures, councils are striving to keep supporting local sports clubs and want to work with them in creating a lasting and meaningful Olympic and Paralympic legacy. This much-needed funding will hopefully act as a catalyst to further strengthen local partnerships between councils and sports clubs and get more people playing sport.”

expand informationHelp to build on our success

Buy a BrickWe need your help to further improve the facilities at the Paul Beard Centre and the success of BerkoAstro, which opened a year ago and has over 1,500 children and adults using it every week.

We have planning permission to  transform the old garage adjacent to BerkoAstro into a new facility containing a classroom, toilets, small changing area, and first aid and refreshment facilities. This will cost £155,000.

We are already well on the way to funding it, with a generous donation of  £50,000  from a local businessman; a £5,000 contribution from Ashlyns Schools; two of the Raiders Dads swam the Channel and raised £5,000. Plus we have applied for a grant from the Football Foundation and the Dacorum Olympic Fund.

Please support us and buy a brick and be part of our facility.

Since opening in November 2010, the floodlit 3G pitch at BerkoAstro at Ashlyns School is regularly use by Berkhamsted Raiders, local clubs and schools, the local community, a 6 a side soccer league, a Centre of Excellence for Disability Football, and Watford FC Player Development Centres for Dacorum and Bucks. 

If you would like to book a slot please contact us via email or a phone call.

Download form & information >

expand informationFootball for Fun

Football for funFootball for Fun sessions will run throughout the Summer at BerkoAstro at Ashlyns School, Berkhamsted. These Tuesday and Thursday evening sessions are open to boys and girls of all abilities. Just turn up and play!

They are not formal coaching sessions.... they will consist of organised 6 or 7 a side games on our state of the art 3G artificial grass surface. No trophies, no recording of results...just play for fun. Following a warm up, players will be grouped into teams of similar ability (as far as possible) and 10 minute games will be played.

Download form & information >





expand informationBerkoAstro Opens November

Ashlyns School and Berkhamsted Raiders Community Football Club are delighted to announce the opening of BerkoAstro.
If you would like to hire the facility or require information please contact us

Official Opening 13th November 12.30pm

Luther Blissett, the legendary Watford football player, will officially open BerkoAstro in the presence of the Mayor of Dacorum, Cllr. Roger M. Taylor. The 3G artificial grass pitch forms part of the Paul Beard Centre at Ashlyns School. This phase of our project has been made possible due to a grant from the Football Foundation and the support of the local community.

The BerkoAstro pitch is the first phase of our larger plans to form a sporting centre named after Paul Beard, a local sportsman, who inspired many young people to participate in sport at all levels and one of the original team who had this vision. The pitch will be dedicated to the memory of Nick Walsh who was, a keen footballer, a student at Ashlyns and supporter of our project. His family and friends have continued their support by holding an annual memorial match.

We look forward to welcoming you. 

expand informationOur dream becomes a reality.......

BerkoAstro at nightAshlyns and Berkhamsted Raiders are delighted to announce we have been awarded a grant from the Football Foundation; which mean we can start building our 3G floodlit football pitch!

The pitch will not only improve our facilities but provide much need extra sporting facilities for the community.

The Football Foundation together with the Football Association is contributing over half of the funds towards this facility. The remainder has been generated through the combined fundraising efforts of the school, the ASA, Raiders and the community.

Our dream becomes a reality.......We thank you all for your generosity, as you have made this possible. We are very grateful to you and the Football Foundation for making this happen.

If everything runs to schedule, BerkoAstro will open in October/November this year. Work will start during the summer break, so when the school starts in September work will be well underway.

Ashlyns and Raiders have worked in close partnership to make this project happen, this partnership continues through the management of the facility.

The pitch, which will be named in honour of Nick Walsh, will be used during school hours by Ashlyns students and the schools within our three tiered system. Evenings and weekends will be taken up with community use; Raiders will be use it as their prime training base, other local clubs have already expressed their interest as have six-a-side leagues, so we know it will be well used!

What next

Although we are celebrating, there is still a need to push forward on the fundraising. Whilst with the Football Foundation’s grant we have the bulk of the £ 585,000 needed; we still need to raise an extra £ 40,000.

Please donate whatever you can through our JustGiving page, or do you know of any grants we could apply for, companies who would like to become Corporate or Business sponsors? Information on the ongoing project can be found on this website or contact us through if you can help.

We don’t stop here, we still need changing rooms and additional sporting facilities so please support us and help provide Berkhamsted with state- of- the- art facilities.

expand informationSoccer showdown with Gunners All Stars

View a video of the event on the Berkhamsted Today website »

This was our major fundraising event for the all weather pitch at Ashlyns and we had great local support. The bid is being finalised and will be submitted shortly to the Football Foundation, who have indicated their full support for this project. Ashlyns and Raiders fundraising is on track. With your help and support Ashlyns could have this new sporting facility by September!

Soccer showdown with Gunners All Stars

We are half way to delivering this facility; help us start building it for use by September 2010. Find out more about this project for you and Berkhamsted and how you can help us achieve it by September.

Go to the detailed sections of the website for details of the story so far, what we are currently working on, our fundraising progress and how you can help us to turn this dream into a reality in the next 12 months.

PDFBerkoAstro newsletter November

expand informationSoccer showdown with Gunners All Stars

Soccer showdown with Gunners All StarsCome and watch our team playing against the Arsenal charity team, drawn from a list of players like TV gardener Tommy Walsh, World's best cricketer turned fox-trotter Mark Ramprakash, eighties crooner Tony Hadley, Royle Family star Ralf Little plus assorted retired Gunners. See the BerkoAstro team and sponsor the players.

This important fund-raising event will take place on Sunday 21st March with a host of other activities, so please clear your diaries!

Support the event by volunteering to help on the day!

This is our major fundraising event for the all weather pitch at Ashlyns and we need your support. The bid is being finalised and will be submitted shortly to the Football Foundation, who have indicated their full support for this project. Ashlyns and Raiders fundraising is on track. With your help and support Ashlyns could have this new sporting facility by September!




expand informationCienté is BerkoAstro's first corporate sponsor

Cienté is BerkoAstro's First Corporate SponsorBerkhamsted hair salon Cienté has cut up the opposition to become the first local business to sign up to sponsor the BerkoAstro Appeal, the community project run by Ashlyns School and Berkhamsted Raiders CFC to provide a full-sized, floodlit all-weather football pitch and changing facilities for the town. 

The two-year sponsorship deal will be a big boost to the project’s long-term goal of earning £1.3m to build the facility which will vastly improve the town’s sporting provisions. And with fund-raising opportunities flooding in from Ashlyns School and Raiders club members, the project is keen to attract other local businesses to support the scheme.

"We are thrilled that Cienté has chosen to support the BerkoAstro appeal," says Chairman of Berkhamsted Raiders Keith Pollard.  "The sponsorship deal will not only make them an important and prominent part of the project but also earn them the gratitude of the town’s young people and sport lovers".

"Being a local business we place great importance on supporting the local community and giving something back”, says Patricia Buller of Cienté.  “Our business prides itself on growing, developing and supporting young people and this is a wonderful opportunity to be involved in such an exciting project with Ashlyns School and Berkhamsted Raiders which perfectly endorses our philosophy of education and supporting the local community".

If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor or corporate partner or supporting the BerkoAstro appeal in other ways, please go to our sponsorship page or contact


expand informationNew mascot Astro-Vert December 2009

Astro VertThe face of a £1.3million fundraising drive for a new football pitch has been chosen - the grass-themed cartoon character Astro-Vert. Budding cartoonists from across Berkhamsted have been busy coming up with ideas for the BerkoAstro mascot competition. The competition judges were impressed with the high quality entries in all sections – both in terms of the wonderful drawings and the clever and original choice of some of the names etc.

  • Overall winner and 10-13 category – Cally Fairweather, 10yrs from Thomas Coram School
  • 5-9 category – Arran Shanghavi, 6yrs from Victoria School
  • 13+ category – Hilary Gardener

Cally Fairweather, 10, of Bingham Close, Hemel Hempstead, who attends Thomas Coram School won with her drawing of the cartoon, which will now be made into a life-size mascot and will represent the Raiders FC's and Ashlyns School's campaign to raise enough cash to build the pitch at the school next year..

Cally's mother Claire Fairweather she: "This is absolutely wonderful news. Cally is overjoyed to win the entire competition. "She came up with the idea when she and I were in the car on our way to visit her grandad. "The minute she thought of a blade of grass she decided there and then that it was the best thing to have as her entry. She must have had a sixth sense."


expand informationWaitrose bag packing raises a fantastic £1500 December 2009

Waitrose Bag Packing40 students and governors braved the cold weather to pack bags to raise money for the BerkoAstro project on Saturday 12th December. Waitrose in Berkhamsted very kindly agreed to let us organise teams to help in both the morning and afternoon with Barclays also kindly matching some of the funds raised. We will therefore have raised a further £1523.50 in total. 


expand informationNick Walsh Charity Shield raises over £1000 September 2009

Sponsored BounceThe Nick Walsh Charity Shield was established 2 years ago and this year, Nick's team Berkhamsted Rangers 2005 FC took on St George Crusaders FC at Broadwater Stadium at the end of September.

Over £1000 was raised towards our appeal and we are very grateful to the all the players and to everyone who supported the match for their generous contribution.


expand informationThe Gazette backs the BerkoAstro appeal 23rd September 2009

Sponsored BounceThe Berkhamsted & Tring Gazette is backing our appeal to raise funds for the BerkoAstro project and every business or organisation which supports the project will feature in the paper. In addition, these organisations will be loaded on to the Gazette website and will have links to their own websites.  Organisations which make donations or provide a service to the project, such as printing, will get a mention under this offer.

This is fantastic news for our campaign and we are very grateful to the Gazette for
supporting us in this way.

View the article in the Gazette >


expand informationPrize Draw March 2012

Sponsored BounceIf you would like to make a contribution to the appeal, with the added attraction of having the chance to win a cash prize, then why not join our prize draw club.

Further details can be found on the application form which is also available from the school office.  Completed forms should be sent to the school office.

PDF filePrize Draw Application Form


expand informationSponsored bounce raises over £1000 3rd July 2009

Sponsored BounceOne hundred students from Ashlyns School took part in a 24-hour bounce to raise money for the BerkoAstro appeal and raised more that £1000.

The bounce was organised by the PE department, Miss Crosland said:
"The students have really got behind the bounce to raise money for the new all weather pitch and we are so proud of them all. They showed real stamina and determination to keep going for 24 hours, especially during the graveyard period when tiredness started to take over about 5am."

PDF fileView the article from the Gazette


expand informationOur community appeal launched 24th June 2009

Our community appeal launchedThe Berkhamsted Gazette has helped us to launch our major fundraising campaign within the local community as we need more funding in the form of donations, matched funding or equipment and that is not just for sport, we will need computers and all the fixtures and fittings that go with a state of the art changing pavilion with teaching facilities.

View the article


expand informationThanks to the Walsh family 22nd June 2009

spacerThe BerkoAstro project team is delighted that the Walsh family have agreed that the floodlight pitch can be dedicated to Nick Walsh. This is a fitting tribute to Nick, who had supported Ashlyns sporting projects before his untimely death in 2007.

Nick was a popular talented student at Ashlyns, and a keen footballer, his love of the game knew no bounds.

The BerkoAstro project team is honoured to pay tribute to Nick's life by this dedication. This has made the project even more important to deliver.


expand informationAshlyns School Association (ASA) support June 2009

Support from the Hertfordshire Football AssociationThe ASA has already raised a magnificent £20,000 for this project which has enabled us to go out and seek matched funding.  The school has asked the ASA to support the project in its final push to secure the remaining funding by designating this project as their major fundraising project for the coming year.  They have also very kindly agreed to provide additional support by providing helpers to run specific fundraising events to be organised by the project team.


expand informationApproach to Councils May 2009

spacerWe have approached a number of key organisations including Sport England, the County Council, Dacorum Council, Berkhamsted Town Council to request substantial partnership funding.  The County and Borough Councils in particular stand to benefit from a large inward investment from the Football Foundation when this goes ahead and we feel there is a very strong case for them to become funding partners in the project by providing a substantial grant.


expand informationFormal letter of support from the Football Association 22nd May 2009

Support from the Hertfordshire Football AssociationFollowing a recent meeting with the new Headteacher and governors at Ashlyns School, the Football Association has sent a formal letter of support for the project.

Read the PDF file Hertfordshire Football Associaton letter





expand informationA major milestone - Planning permission obtained 21 August 2008

3D view of BerkoAstro projectAfter many months of consultation in which Berkhamsted Town Council expressed their full support for this project, following substantial changes to the design of the changing facilities and some minor amendments to the position of the pitch to protect the nearby trees, the project team has been successful in obtaining planning permission and listed building consent. 

This is a major step forward as it is a precursor to approaching the Football Foundation for funding.

View the plans:

PDF file Site plan
PDF file South and east elevation
PDF file West and north elevation
PDF file Changing room plan
PDF file Isometric drawing

expand informationLocal MPs support project planning application April 2008

Gazette articleLocal MPs David Gauke and Mike Penning pledged their support for the project and its planning application to the local council.

PDF file Read the article from the Gazette









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