Hammers open Great Baddow sports dome

Sam Allardyce, Mark Noble and Reece Burke went back to school this week to open the doors to Great Baddow High School’s brand new sports dome
West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce, alongside Academy graduates Mark Noble and Reece Burke, went back to school this week to open the doors to Great Baddow High School’s brand new inflatable air sports dome. 

The Chelmsford secondary school has recently joined forces with the West Ham United Foundation, who will be delivering in-school and after-school curricular activity, as well as introducing an elite player pathway to the Academy. 

Replacing a dilapidated tarmac playground area, the double skinned air dome is floodlit and large enough to accommodate two five-a-side football pitches.  

The 3G pitch will bring a new generation of sports provision to the school and local community and Big Sam hopes that Great Baddow’s ambition and investment will rub off on other schools in the area.    

“This is a fantastic facility and I’m sure the students will respect it and make tremendous use of it,” Allardyce said.   

“It was important for me to be here to encourage as many schools as possible to build a facility of this quality, to give an opportunity for youngsters of all ages to enjoy team sports. 

“When you've got a facility as good as this, then the boys and girls don't realise the physical demands they are putting on themselves, because they're enjoying it. That’s the key thing for me.   

“Whether it’s football, rugby or tennis, physical education is so important for your whole life experience as you grow up.  

“Hopefully, one day, we’ll have a Great Baddow High pupil running out for West Ham at the new Stadium!” 
I’ve worked very closely with our Foundation in recent months and it’s great to see them out here in Essex, adding value to the students’ school lives. They are an outstanding advert for our football club and our commitment to the local community.
For headteacher Carrie Lynch, the sports dome is set to transform what pupils are able to do in their physical education lessons. Chelmsford, of course, is a West Ham stronghold these days and so the Hammers’ backing was most welcome too.   
“We're absolutely thrilled to have this facility,” Mrs Lynch confirmed. “To have all the visitors from West Ham, working with our students, talking to them and inspiring them has been fantastic. 

“I think it's really important for our students to see that the people they really admire, will actually come out, put the time in with young people, hopefully inspiring the next generation.  So we really appreciated that.” 

Though it was only completed a week ago, the sports dome is already in demand, such that there was a ballot for the grand opening and Mrs Lynch expects more of the same in the coming weeks and months. 

She continued: “They've been dying to get in there. We only completed the project about a week ago. It has been there first chance to get in there and other students have definitely been very jealous. They'll be queuing up in their PE lessons!”