Young female footballers in Hitchin have been given a timely boost at a time when they are forced to stay away from training and the pitch.

Hitchin Belles Football Club have over 250 female players on their books and are currently based at North Hertfordshire College sports ground.

But they will now have the chance to move to a permanent home at the Priory School thanks to a grant of £48,000 awarded by the Premier League, the FA and the Football Foundation.

The funding will create a number of new grass football pitches at the Bedford Road school and allow the club to have a home ground for all its teams for the first time in their 21-year history.

Players will be able to enjoy better quality grass pitches which will represent a significant improvement on the existing pitches at the current site, which need renovation and better pitch maintenance during the season.

And with a planned 3G all-weather training pitch at the venue, this will also give access to improved training facilities for the club’s teams.

Secretary Jason Slade said: “This is a watershed moment in the history of the club and will be the foundation, as one of North Hertfordshire’s largest all-female football clubs, to provide a first-class football facility for female players in the area.

"This grant and partnership with the school will allow us to offer all-female football to even more girls and women in the community and we will be working with the school to build our links with them and engage with staff and pupils to offer them opportunities in the sport.

"To receive this funding means a great deal to us. Female football is the fastest growing game in the UK and this grant will help us to improve grassroots sport in Hitchin and get even more female players involved in the nation’s favourite game."