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David Sheepshanks CBE and Dr. Thérèse Coffey MP open new changing pavilion in Suffolk

David Sheepshanks CBE and Dr. Thérèse Coffey MP open new changing pavilion in Suffolk

Date published: 14/07/2017
David Sheepshanks CBE and Dr. Thérèse Coffey MP open new changing pavilion in Suffolk

David Sheepshanks CBE, founding Chairman of the St George’s Park National Football Centre, officially opened a state-of-the-art changing pavilion in Felixstowe recently (Saturday 8 July 2017) alongside MP for the Suffolk Coastal area, Dr. Thérèse Coffey. 

The project was made possible by a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. The Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) – the Football Foundation’s sister organisation – also awarded money to the project. 

The grant has enabled Felixstowe & Walton United FC to replace their 70-year-old makeshift changing room with a facility that can cater for its 21 youth teams and three adult sides. The new facility comprises: four changing rooms; two officials’ changing rooms; spectator toilets; kitchen facilities and a large clubroom.

The new facility will be used by partner club Felixstowe and Walton United, as well as Ipswich Town Ladies FC. Felixstowe and Walton, who play at Step 5 in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties Premier Division, hopes to increase its number of teams from 23 to 31. 

The club, nicknamed ‘The Seasiders’, worked alongside the Suffolk FA and the Football Foundation to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.       

The new pavilion is expected to raise football participation at the site by 42% overall. This includes a 68% boost in players between the ages of 14-25, and an increase in female players of 71%. Amongst the planned new teams, Felixstowe and Walton hope to introduce a new senior side for women and additional teams across the Under-14 to Under-18 age groups.   

The club worked in partnership with the Suffolk FA to secure a £269,594 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. The Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), also contributed £88,122 towards the works. 

The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. It is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth nearly £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of just under £800m – over £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game. 

Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 185 grants worth £7.9m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £21.8m across the whole of Suffolk. 

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. 

Funded with £5.2m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.

David Sheepshanks CBE, former Chairman of Ipswich Town FC, said: “This new changing pavilion is an excellent addition to the club. Having been a long term supporter of this club, Dave Ashford and all the team here, supporting their events dating back to my days as Chairman of Ipswich Town, I was delighted to officially open the facility. 

“It’s really important for players at the grassroots level to have the best possible facilities available to them, and this is a perfect example of what is needed in the sport. I was especially glad to hear about the project providing the club with enough space to increase their number of teams. 

“Without the funding of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, this project could not have gone ahead. Well done to everyone whose efforts went in to securing this grant.” 

Dr. Thérèse Coffey, MP for the Suffolk Coastal area, said: “Grassroots sport is very important to our area, and benefits many members of the community – it provides a social outlet as well as a way for people to stay healthy. 

“This would not have been possible without the grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. I’d like to congratulate the club on securing this funding, and thank them for inviting me to open the new facility.” 

Chris Daynes, Facilities Manager, Felixstowe & Walton United FC, said: “We thank David Sheepshanks CBE for performing the ceremonial plaque unveiling and also Ipswich Town for sending a side to play the first match at the facility. 

“The substantial grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has helped transform the facilities and made a huge difference to the current users of the ground. It has enabled our club to grow and continue its development plan for the existing and future generations of grassroots footballers in Felixstowe.” 

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 Felixstowe & Walton United FC to upgrade their clubhouse & changing rooms. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and a special thanks must go to David Sheepshanks CBE and Dr. Thérèse Coffey for opening the new facility. 

“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.4bn, 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 Felixstowe 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.”

 ENDS

For more information contact:
- Chris Daynes on 07415 886 803 or commercial@felixstowefootball.co.uk
- Sophie Huby on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292 or sophie.huby@footballfoundation.org.uk


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"It’s really important for players at the grassroots level to have the best possible facilities available to them, and this is a perfect example of what is needed in the sport."

David Sheepshanks CBE

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