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New Football Foundation Ambassador Lawrie McMenemy helps celebrate 15 years of grassroots investment

New Football Foundation Ambassador Lawrie McMenemy helps celebrate 15 years of grassroots investment

Date published: 19/05/2015
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Yesterday, Lawrie McMenemy MBE, former FA Cup-winning Southampton FC Manager and Graham Taylor’s Assistant Manager for England, was at The Henry Beaufort School’s 3G pitch, which was delivered by the Football Foundation, to watch pupils take part in a football training session. His visit was the first in his new role as a Football Foundation Ambassador and forms part of the Foundation’s 15-year Anniversary celebrations.

In 2008 The Henry Beaufort School received a £342,377 grant from the Football Foundation’s Funding Partners – the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England – to develop a 100m x 51m, floodlit, third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) for school and community use, which was opened by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling.  

The Henry Beaufort School use the pitch extensively to deliver both multi-sport Physical Education lessons and extra-curricular activities. The facility is used by 764 (129 female and 629 male) grassroots footballers every single week, including those from local grassroots clubs, community groups and small-sided leagues.

The school also work closely with the Saints Foundation, the charitable arm of Southampton FC, to provide girls’ football coaching sessions after school every Monday to increase girl’s participation in the sport, a move which has seen many of their teams go on to represent the Saints Foundation at various national tournaments. Additionally, the Saints Foundation runs ‘Soccer Schools’ during holidays, which cater for children aged 5-13 years and can provide a route into the Southampton FC Academy.

Lawrie said: “I am very proud today to have become an Ambassador for the Football Foundation, a charity that has been commited to improving our nation’s grassroots football facilities for the last 15 years.

“Today I have seen up close just one of the  facilities that the Football Foundation has provided here at The Henry Beaufort School. I am delighted to see it full today with kids enjoying football and I know it is full all day every day with members of the local community who can turn up and enjoy a kick around regardless of ability.

“A healthy grassroots game is fundamental to a successful national game, and I really do mean that. I’ve managed some of the best players this country has ever produced and they all started out at the grassroots.  A better grassroots game produces better players for the professional game, it’s that simple.

“However, it’s important to remember where the money these essential facilities has come from; the very top of the game.  The Premier League, The FA and the Government through Sport England are the ones who have written the cheque, while the Foundation has delivered this facility, along with many others across the country, and also monitors it to make sure it is being used to it’s maximum.”

John Howells, Assistant Headteacher, The Henry Beaufort School, commented: "It was really good to see Lawrie McMenemy coming to the school and working with our young footballers, in the year when the school is Hampshire Under-15 County Cup Champions and girls Under-13 Hampshire champions. This is in a large part thanks to the Football Foundation for providing us with an excellent all weather pitch which enables our students to train and perform on the highest quality playing surface."

Founded in 2000 the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England. 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 awarded around 13,000 grants worth more than £520m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £736m – over £1.24bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added: “I am delighted that Lawrie McMenemy has agreed to join us as an Ambassador for the critical work that we do. Lawrie is a highly-respected figure within football and someone who is clearly very passionate about the grassroots game. His support will be of huge benefit to us, as we continue to deliver better public sports facilities across the country.

“Of course none of this would be possible without the generous contributions made by our Funding Partners, the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England. Their funding is making a huge impact by proving the very latest community facilities across the country, especially in some of the most deprived areas of the country.

“The Foundation has been using its expertise for the last 15 years to identify where the need for investment is greatest and where we can achieve a significant impact in terms of participation increases and improving community health, as well as other economic and community benefits. Last year alone, for example, we recorded an average increase in football participation of 11% across all the facilities we have delivered.” 

ENDS

For more information contact:
- Niall Malone on 0845 345 4555 Ext: 4275 or niall.malone@footballfoundation.org.uk

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Lawrie McMenemy speaks to pupils at The Henry Beaufort School in his new role as a Football Foundation Ambassador.

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“A healthy grassroots game is fundamental to a successful national game, and I really do mean that. I’ve managed some of the best players this country has ever produced and they all started out at the grassroots."


Lawrie McMenemy MBE

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