Date published: 15/04/2013
Former Sports Minister, the Rt Hon Richard Caborn officially opened The U-Mix Centre in Sheffield last week. The £2.6m project was partly-funded by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.
The new community building, The U-Mix Centre, includes: a reception and resource room, a library, an office, three meeting rooms, a training room, an activities room, a kitchen, as well as a dance studio, gymnasium, a performing arts room, two dual gender team changing rooms, two match officials changing rooms and a new third generation, artificial grass pitch (AGP).
The AGP will be used to accommodate mini-soccer, small-sided football and football training for local junior and adult clubs such as Sharrow United FC, Heeley JFC, Soccer Pumas FC and Africa Dream Team. The pitch will also be used for taster sessions and host tournaments and training for prospective coaches.
The centre will also allow Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD) to develop its sporting and youth work programme at their new home. The FURD project worked in partnership with the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA to secure a £350,000 grant from the Football Foundation. Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.
Across Sheffield and Hallamshire, the Football Foundation has awarded 96 grants worth £13.3m towards grassroots sports projects worth a total of over £54m with money provided by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England).
The U-Mix Centre also includes a dance studio, music rehearsal space and recording studio, digital media suite and a home for the Arthur Wharton Archive, as well as 3G artificial floodlit pitch and play equipment.
The Rt Hon Richard Caborn, Trustee of the Football Foundation, said: “It is a real pleasure to be able to open this new state-of-the-art sports centre in Lowfield.
“As a trustee of the Football Foundation, it is fantastic to see first-hand the real impact of the crucial investment by the Foundation’s core funders, the Premier League, The FA, Government and Sport England, into grassroots sport here in Sheffield. Community sport is vital to any area and this £2.6m project will no doubt provide local people with ample opportunity to get involved in sport.”
Clive Betts, Chairman of the All Party Football Group and MP for Sheffield South East, said: “I am delighted that this excellent facility is now open. I hope that it brings children together from communities across Sheffield and helps FURD build on its excellent work in the city.
“At a time when football has never had so much money more should be given to the Football Foundation to invest in grassroots facilities.”
Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, said: “I’ve worked with FURD for many years and seen the powerful work they do, using football to bring young people together to challenge racism. It’s not just a great local project, but has won international recognition.
“I’m delighted that FURD now has a permanent home at the U-Mix centre and the way they’ve approached the project exemplifies what FURD is all about. They brought together and supported a great group of young people from across the local community to design a centre that would really meet local needs. I was proud to speak out for them in Parliament when the funding was threatened and I’d like to pay tribute to the persistence and commitment of the staff, volunteers and young people who’ve made the U-Mix Centre a reality.”
Simon Hyacinth, FURD Joint Coordinator,said: “This fabulous facility has been a long time in the planning. We are very grateful to the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA and regional Football Foundation officers for their commitment to making our dreams turn into reality. Sheffield City Council also played a key role in ensuring the whole concept remained intact despite difficult financial times.
“The Football Foundation’s contribution was vital in unlocking other funding to complete the whole facility, in particular £2.14m from the government’s MyPlace programme. The venue is in the heart of the Sharrow area of Sheffield, which has already produced two superstars in Jessica Ennis and Kyle Walker, both a great inspiration to young people in the city.”
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “I am delighted to see this fabulous centre up and running as it’s a wonderful example of what this partnership between the Council, the local community, a voluntary organisation and young people can achieve.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said:“This project in Sheffield is a wonderful example of what the Football Foundation is doing right across the country. Foundation investment is helping to transform the national inventory of facilities that supports the grassroots game in this country, and thanks must go to our funding partners, the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England) for their crucial and generous financial support, without which none of this would be possible.”
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