Former Norwich City FC Manager, Nigel Worthington, was in Holt recently (Saturday 19 March 2016), to officially open Holt Playing Field Association’s new changing room pavilion. The project was made possible thanks to a £99,983 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
The development also received £50,000 from the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the largest funders of non-league football in the country. Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund contributed £50,000.
Holt Playing Field Association have been able to extend and refurbish the previous pavilion, which was too small for the number of clubs using it. The development includes two changing rooms, an officials’ changing room, a large kitchen, new storage space and spectator toilets. The project was also awarded £50,000 by Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund.
Nigel Worthington, who was capped 66 times for Northern Ireland playing in the 1986 FIFA World Cup, also played for Notts County, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United. His managerial career includes stints at Blackpool FC, Northern Ireland, York City FC and of course the Canaries.
The pavilion will be used for social events, day classes and by local grassroots clubs, like Holt United FC. The club, who play at Step 7 in the Anglian Combination League, now meet the correct Ground Grading criteria to continue playing at their current level.
The Football Foundation worked alongside Holt Playing Field Association and Norfolk County FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how football will be played on site as a result of this funding, with emphasis on increasing participation and growth in teams. The improvements will help Holt United retain its current membership at the same time allowing them to develop further and increase the number of teams they operate.
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 £546m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £773m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 175 grants worth £7m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £15.7m across the whole of Norfolk.
Other funding is coming from the Environment Protection Agency, North Norfolk District Council, Holt Playing Fields Association and additional fundraising.
Nigel Worthington said: “It was a pleasure to open the new pavilion at Holt Playing Fields. The development of the changing facilities will have a really positive impact on the experiences of home and away players, as well as officials and spectators. Clubs like Holt United can benefit from top-class changing rooms, which can be used by players, officials and fans.
“The Football Foundation’s investment is having a major impact on improving facilities, which is consistently cited as the most pressing issue affecting the grassroots.
“The Foundation is also creating links between the grassroots game and the elite game. So as well as local sports clubs and schools getting to use sites like this, many are becoming community hubs at which professional football clubs’ Community Trusts are delivering fantastic outreach work. This also creates talent pathways which is helping to promote the home-grown stars of tomorrow!
“I would like to give credit to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and the Football Stadia Improvement Fund for their generous funding, which has created a safe and suitable environment for Holt United and other local clubs to get ready for matches and training.
“Holt Playing Field Association and everyone that has worked hard to get this new facility developed also deserve huge credit for what they’ve achieved.”
Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “The improvements made to the pavilion at Holt Playing Fields will make such a difference to the local community. Clubs like Holt United now have a safe place to prepare for training sessions and matches, enabling them to continue playing at their current level. The Premier League are committed to helping clubs at all levels of the football pyramid, and the development in Holt is a prime example of that. I wish Holt United all the best for the coming years.”
Michael Banham, Chairman, Norfolk County FA, said, “It was great to attend the opening of Holt Playing Field Association’s upgraded pavilion. I am so impressed with how the pavilion looks, and it is clear to see how much this will benefit the local clubs and community groups who use it.
“A lot of hard work and effort has gone into making the pavilion a reality, and I would like to extend my thanks to all involved. The project would not have been possible without the investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, who are committed to improving grassroots facilities not just in Norfolk, but across the country.”
Paul Sanders, Chairman Holt Playing Field Association, said: “I can’t thank enough the many people who have made this project possible. This extension will provide wonderful new facilities for the people of Holt to enjoy and will improve the grassroots facilities on the site. I would like to express my thanks to Nigel Worthington for coming along today and opening this new extension.”
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 Holt Playing Fields Association to upgrade their sports pavilion. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area. A special thanks must go to Nigel for taking time out to open the new facility.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, 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 Holt 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 if it and to stay healthy.”
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