Date published: 18/07/2016
Michael Banham (left), Chairman of Norfolk County FA, Iwan Roberts (centre) and Jon Platten (right), Principal of Open Academy joined by Open Academy students.
Open Academy and Norfolk County Football Association were joined by Norwich City FC legend Iwan Roberts on Friday to mark the official opening of theFDC@OpenAcademy - a new floodlit, all-weather football facility based at the Open Academy on Salhouse Road, Norwich. This project was made possible thanks to a grant of £498,789 from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
TheFDC@OpenAcademy boasts a state of the art 3rd Generation Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP), changing rooms and education area, which is used by the Open Academy students during the day and the local community during the evenings and weekends. The facility also provides another venue for the Norfolk FA County 5IVES small-sided football programme.
Former Norwich City FC & Wales international player, Iwan Roberts, said: “Norwich is a vibrant city with a huge passion for football and it’s fantastic to see facilities of this quality being developed to match that. I’m sure the students here at Open Academy as well as the local community are going to love having a pitch of this standard on their doorstep.”
Following the success of Norfolk County FA’s Football Development Centre (theFDC), launched in Bowthorpe in 2009, the completion of theFDC@OpenAcademy represents the first step in increasing the number of football hubs around Norfolk. The new facility will provide an all-weather surface to meet both the current and future demand in this area of the city & surrounding areas.
Funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. It funds the development of new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level.
Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has supported more than 14,000 grassroots projects worth over £1.3 billion, including 174 grants worth £7.2m towards projects worth over £16m in Norfolk.
By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game.
Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.
Michael Banham, Chairman of Norfolk County FA, said: “We are delighted to be officially opening theFDC@OpenAcademy, our second Football Development Centre within Norfolk. Today’s opening not only marks a significant step for grassroots football in the County but also for us as an Association as we work towards our aims and objectives in delivering the ‘Engaging the Next Generation’ strategy.”
“The new 3G pitch will offer the local and wider football community access to a world class facility, whilst ensuring the sports provision at the Academy is also of the highest order. This new partnership model with Open Academy is the first step in our desire to work more closely with the wider education sector, and it is hoped that with such a collaborative approach more of these facilities could be earmarked in other locations throughout the county, offering great opportunities for both sectors and more importantly local communities.”
Jon Platten, Principal of Open Academy, said: "We are excited to be working with Norfolk FA to provide such an amazing facility for our students and for the community. Having such a resource on our doorstep is a real motivator for our youngsters to get involved in sport. Opportunity and partnership working are important to the Open Academy's mission of 'Learning Excellence'."
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled the build of theFDC@OpenAcademy. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.
“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This latest project in Norfolk is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it and to stay healthy.”
For further information regarding theFDC@OpenAcademy and how to hire the facilities, please email theFDCopen@NorfolkFA.com
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