Lord Pendry, President of the Football Foundation, and Mary Creagh, MP for Wakefield, were in Wakefield recently (Saturday 25 June 2016), to open Durkar Devils Junior Football Club’s £235,535 natural grass pitches.
The project was made possible thanks to a £98,925 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. The club also received a £18,843 grant from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the largest funders of non-league football in the country.
Durkar Devils Junior FC received a further £50,000 from Sport England’s Protected Playing Fields and £50,000 from WREN’s FCC Community Action Fund.
The grant has enabled the club, who play at Step 7 in the Wakefield District Saturday League, to resurface and drain the natural grass pitches at their Slack Lane home.
There are now two full-size pitches, two junior-size pitches and one Mini-Soccer pitch at the site, which will be used by the club for training and matches. The club already have a changing pavilion at Slack Lane, which comprises two team changing rooms, an officials’ room and kitchen and toilet facilities.
Durkar Devils JFC worked in partnership with the Football Foundation and the Sheffield & Hallamshire FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP), which is a vision for how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation. The Plan predicts a growth from 11 to 24 teams, including teams at Under-6 age level.
Female provision will increase significantly, with the creation of a girls’ section consisting of seven sides. Previously, the absence of female teams has prevented the Charter Standard Club from making progress to Community Club status, so this section of the FDP is very important.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund 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 14,000 grants worth more than £560m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £787m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 244 grants worth £15.8m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £59m across the whole of the Sheffield & Hallamshire FA region.
Rt Hon Lord Pendry, President of the Football Foundation, said: “I was delighted to officially open Durkar Devils JFC’s new real grass pitches alongside Mary Creagh, MP for Wakefield. The improvements made to the pitch facilities at the club’s Slack Lane home will have a significant impact on players, officials and supporters.
“The development of new pitches, and the re-grading of existing ones will also enable the club to introduce seven new girls’ teams – a positive objective of the Football Foundation.”
“Investment into grassroots facilities is vital to the progression of clubs at all levels of the national game across the country, and without the financial support of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, through the Football Foundation, clubs like Durkar Devils JFC would not be able to move forward.
“I would like to thank everyone involved with the project for all their hard work in making this development a reality. I wish the club all the best for the future.”
Mary Creagh, MP for Wakefield, said: “It was a pleasure to open Durkar Devils JFC’s new real grass pitches alongside Football Foundation President, Lord Pendry. This is an important and significant development to the club, and it was wonderful to see girls and boys enjoying the new pitches on Saturday.
“Funding from the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, enabled the works to come to fruition, and this investment must continue for young people across the country to take part in sport and live healthier lives.
“Thanks to all involved in this project– I look forward to seeing the club go from strength to strength.”
Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “The improvements made to Durkar Devils JFC’s pitches are a primary example of how dedicated the Premier League is to supporting clubs at all levels of the national game. The club can now go forward knowing games and matches will not be postponed due to waterlogged pitches thanks to the extensive drainage and re-seeding of their ground, something that would not have been possible without this grant. I wish the club all the best for the coming years.”
Matthew Thompson, Chairman of Durkar Devils Junior FC, said: “We’re immensely proud to have been entrusted with this investment in grassroots sport and look forward to playing our role to grow community sports. We’re already feeling the positive effects as we have a new ladies and girls section in place and would like to thank the Wakefield Community Foundation for their £5,000 grant to support us in this area.
“We’re also working with Wakefield Council on walking football initiatives and hope to soon be hosting disability sporting events, and with the extra pitch capacity we’re also now in a position to provide pitch space for an excellent kids’ Rugby League Academy. So a massive thank you to our funders for enabling us to bring new sporting opportunities to all parts of the community.
“I’m also very pleased for our existing players, managers, and parents – some of whom have been with us for nearly 20 years – as these new facilities are the result of your dedication to grassroots football. Thank you.”
Penny Beaumont, WREN’s Grant Manager for Yorkshire, said: “It’s wonderful to see something we have funded finally open and ready to make such a difference to a wide range of people across Wakefield. WREN is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that benefit local communities and this is a great example of what can be achieved.”
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