Date published: 08/11/2016
Former Everton Ladies FC goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis cut the ribbon alongside Julie Hazeldine, Headteacher, Flixton Girls School, Daniel Green, Head of Development and Participation, Manchester FA, Rachel Redmond and Courtney Fry, Youth Sport Trust, and Jimmy Khan and Dave Stead, Urmston Meadowside AFC.
Former England Women’s Senior goalkeeper, Rachel Brown-Finnis, officially opened Flixton Girls School’s new state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) recently (Thursday 3 November 2016). The project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The project will boost local grassroots sport – in particular female participation – with partner club Urmston Meadowside AFC set to create 10 new teams for women. Flixton Girls School will also use a select group of female football ambassadors to inspire more students to take part, with total on-site participation expected to rise by 43%.
These outcomes are projected as part of the five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision for how sport will be played at the new facility – developed by the school alongside the Football Foundation and Manchester FA. The new and upgraded 3G pitch will be used all-year-round throughout the Urmston community, including local grassroots clubs, Aldemere FC and Kick about Kids.
The school also enjoy strong ties with Manchester City Women FC, with a number of their students having progressed into their Academy setup. The relationship was established through the ‘B Inspired Girls Football Hub’ programme, started in partnership by the Youth Sport Trust, The FA, British Universities and Colleges Sport and the Women’s Super League.
The project was made possible thanks to a £99,609 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which 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 188grants worth over £15.5m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £36m across the whole of Manchester.
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.
Rachel Brown-Finnis, said: “It was great fun opening Flixton Girls School’s new 3G pitch, the students will benefit massively from such an important sports development. Facilities such as this one in Urmston are vital in boosting grassroots participation and it is thanks to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund’s investment through the Football Foundation, that sites like this can be built.
“Having played at all levels of the professional game, both in England and abroad, I know how important it is for communities to have safe and accessible facilities that allow them to showcase their skills and enjoy their sport. I’m really pleased that everyone in Urmston will now have this opportunity too and am particularly excited to keep an eye on the next crop of young sport stars that will no doubt emerge from the school’s ranks!”
Julie Hazeldine, Headteacher of Flixton Girls School, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Rachel Brown-Finnis, former GB Women’s goalkeeper, for being here today and opening the new facility, which would not have been possible without the support of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
“This facility will enable us to build on our strong reputation for delivering high quality opportunities for both our students and within the local community. To have this investment into grassroots sport is vital if we are to be successful promoting lifelong participation.”
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 Flixton Girls School to build a new 3G AGP. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and a special thanks must go to Rachel Brown-Finnis 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 Flixton 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.”
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