Graham Taylor and Troy Deeney were on hand this afternoon to officially reopen the Meriden Community Centre.
The centre in Garsmouth Way has been fully refurbished and a new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch has been laid in its grounds at a cost of £1.9m in what represents the club’s first satellite hub site in the borough. The club’s Community Sports and Education Trust helped drive the creation of, and then run, the top-class facility at Cedars Wood in Harrow, but this project marks the first time the club has put down roots in the Watford area away from the stadium.
Watford Borough Council, Watford Community Housing Trust, Sport England, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, the Football Foundation and Watford Football Club’s Community Sports and Education Trust all collaborated to deliver the first part of what is expected to be a full regeneration of the Meriden estate.
“It’s been a long time coming and it’s required a lot of partners and organisations to get involved,” said Community Director Rob Smith. “The hard work starts now as it’s about engaging the community and ensuring the pitch and centre get well used. The club stands for family and community – and it’s not just about talking about those things in terms of words. It’s about action and this is proof of the club’s commitment to that. It’s a longstanding commitment, starting from Graham Taylor’s era.”
Heurelho Gomes, who does such fine work in the community, and Jerome Sinclair were also present this afternoon, taking part in small-sided games with boys and girls from Meriden School.
“It’s great to see the work Watford do in the community and I’m happy to be a part of it,” said Sinclair. “I fell in love with the game playing in places like this. You go into a Sunday team and then it all kicks off from there. It’s great to see the young boys and girls at the start of their journey.”