Date published: 26/09/2016
Cllr Linda Smith, Board Member for Leisure, Parks and Sport, Oxford City Council and Gunnar Niels, Chairman, Summertown Stars AFC, formally opened the new changing room pavilion.
Oxford City Council officially unveiled their state-of-the-art £809,000 changing room pavilion at Cuttleslowe Park recently (Saturday 24 September 2016), thanks to a £348,828 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. Cllr Linda Smith, Board Member for Leisure, Parks and Sport, Oxford City Council, helped open the new facility.
The grant enabled Oxford City Council to replace their previous changing accommodation with a new state-of-the-art pavilion, comprising: four team changing rooms; two officials’ changing rooms; a clubroom; kitchen facilities and spectator toilets. The site acts as home for Summertown Stars AFC, the largest amateur football club in the city, who base 47 of their teams at Cutteslowe Park.
Through this project, Oxford City Council worked in close partnership with the Football Foundation and Oxfordshire FA to establish a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long term vision for how sport will be played at the new facility. The FDP is projected to raise disability participation by over 25%, with Summertown Stars AFC helping achieve this target through the ongoing development of their visually impaired team.
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 15,000 grants worth nearly £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of just under £800m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 139grants worth £6m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £20m across the whole of Oxfordshire.
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.
Cllr Linda Smith said: “The new pavilion is a fantastic step forward for sports facilities in Oxford and we are extremely grateful to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and Sport England for supporting us in refurbishing this important facility. The works here will enable a thriving local football club, in Summertown Stars AFC, to continue its excellent work in attracting more people to be active.”
Andy Earnshaw, Business & Facility Development Manager, Oxfordshire FA, said: “It is fantastic to see another pavilion developed through our partnership work with Oxford City Council. Summertown Stars AFC are a shining example of an FA Charter Standard Community Club and I am delighted that we can support their on-going development through this investment providing a facility that matches their ambitions.”
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 Oxford City Council to upgrade their changing room pavilion. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and thanks must go to Cllr Linda Smith for helping 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 Oxford 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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