Football teams are being urged to take advantage of a new 3G facility which opens to the public next week.
The artificial surface has been installed at South Shields Football Club’s Mariners Park, in Shaftesbury Avenue, and opens on Monday.
It was part of a summer of work at the ground, which also included the installation of a drainage system in the Northern League club’s first-team pitch, and the erection of three new stands for supporters.
The club’s junior teams, as well as first-team, ladies and reserves sides, will all train on the 3G pitch, while teams not affiliated to the Mariners are also now able to book slots.
In addition, a Sunday six-a-side league is to be launched at Mariners Park, with the club currently inviting teams to register their interest.
Zorb football – which sees players wear a giant bubble-type costume – will also be a feature every Friday night.
Alisha Henry, the club’s commercial manager, said: “We’re delighted to be able to open our new 3G facility to the public.
“A lot of work has gone into making the surface as good as it can possibly be, and we hope it will prove popular.
“There has been significantly increased footfall at Mariners Park over recent weeks since a food offering was made available on lunchtimes and evenings, and we hope this trend will continue with the opening of the new facility.
“The bar will be open at all times the 3G is open, and eventually it will be selling confectionary and energy drinks, alongside the current offering in the bar and the meals.”
On the activities planned for the new pitch, Miss Henry added: “The zorb football is expected to prove particularly popular, as it’s a very exciting activity which is fun for all the family. We would advise people to book early to avoid disappointment for that.
“Our junior teams, as well as our men’s and women’s teams, will make use of the 3G, but there are plenty of slots available for the public to hire.”
The cost of booking the pitch for an hour is £30 for one-third of the pitch, £55 for two-thirds and £75 for the full facility.
Meanwhile, it costs £20 per team to join the six-a-side league, which will feature FA-affiliated referees, matchballs, trophies and an end of season presentation.
The league will run between 6pm and 8pm each Sunday.
To book a place in the new league, call 07947 480054, while to book the 3G pitch for any other use, call 0191 454 7800 or visit www.southshieldsfc.co.uk