16 pictures of the new all-weather community pitch at Sixfields in Northampton

The pitch is the club’s prize for winning the More Than Football Award

The new community all-weather pitch at Sixfields was officially opened at Saturday’s Community Day game.

The pitch, which has been built behind the LCS Commercial Dave Bowen Stand and will be open to the community, is the club’s prize for winning the More Than Football Award last year.

The #MoreThanFootball award, powered by Musco, aims to honour the best social initiatives in Europe delivered by a European Club, League or FA by celebrating the work they do on and off the pitch on a local, national and international level.

The award was handed out during the 18th European Football for Development Network (EFDN) Conference in Budapest, Hungary last November, which assessed not only on the quality of the project but also on the level of promotion and engagement.

The Cobblers were named in the final shortlisted clubs alongside FC Twente, Newcastle United and Athletic Club de Bilbao. The attending member clubs at the conference then voted the Northampton Town Tackling Loneliness project as the best social initiative.

The project that won the award started within two days of the first lockdown as Northampton Town FC Community Trust developed a programme set out to support older fans who may be at risk of loneliness or isolation brought about by Covid-19 and Government lockdowns. The project has supported 1,210 people aged 50 and older to reduce feelings of loneliness and improve their mental health and well being.

The impact it has made is wide reaching, as case studies show the project has reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation, helped develop new friendships and improve people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Phill Smith, CEO of the Northampton Town Community Trust said: “This a gamechanger for us. It gives us extra space to deliver a wider array of activities on site, both on matchdays and during the week so that we can continue to support even more people. We want this pitch to be a community asset and it will be a fantastic legacy to the award winning work we are so proud to deliver.”

Chairman Kelvin Thomas added: “The new community 5 a side pitch is fantastic. That is the prize for the More Than Football Award and it is testament to what we do as a club and everyone at the club gets to see and enjoy the reward for that and to know that will be a big community asset for us. It is going to be great to see youngsters playing on there during the week and on matchdays too and it is a real tribute to the work we do in the community of Northamptonshire.”