PARTICIPATION in sport at a Chester school will increase threefold with the addition of a new £476,000 3G all-weather pitch.

That's according to the Football Foundation, which has overseen funding for the facility at Blacon High School.

It was officially opened on Friday by Chester MP Chris Matheson who carried out ribbon-cutting duties.

The new playing surface will be used by the school’s teams, as well as Blacon Youth FC and Saughall Colts FC, Upton JFC, Chester Girls FC and the Chester and District Football League.

The Chester FC Community Trust also plan to deliver community outreach sessions at the site.

Mr Matheson told the Standard: “This is another brilliant facility for Blacon, which is powering ahead, and shows the ambition of head teacher Sue Yates and her team, building on the opening of the new school just last year.

”It’s also a great memorial to Lenny Evans, who died recently and was of course the legendary founder of Blacon Youth Football Club.”

He added: “My challenge now is to get these facilities in other parts of Chester because when we get them they are used heavily and increase participation in sports by several times.”

The project at Blacon High was made possible by a £476,564 grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

A spokesman said: “The grant has enabled the school to replace their sand-based artificial grass pitch, which was over 10-years-old and no longer fit for purpose, with a state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP).

“A 200 per cent increase in overall sports participation for the school is expected as a result.”

Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England.

It develops new and refurbished sports facilities to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at grassroots level.