Date published: 19/09/2016
Lawrie McMenemy MBE cutting the ribbon at South Wonston alongside local dignitaries and youth players from local grassroots team South Wonston Swifts FC.
Lawrie McMenemy MBE, Southampton FC’s 1976 FA Cup-winning Manager, officially opened South Wonston Parish Council’s state-of-the-art £532,000 changing room pavilion recently (Sunday 18 September 2016). The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund contributed £100,000 to the project, with further funding received from South Wonston Parish Council, Hampshire County Council, the Armed Forces Community Covenant and the M&S Community Energy Fund.
The grant has enabled the South Wonston Parish Council to build a brand new state-of-the-art changing room pavilion to be used by several local grassroots teams, including South Wonston Swifts FC.
The new facility comprises: two team changing rooms; an officials’ changing room; clubroom; kitchen facilities and storage space. The new pavilion has been installed with ground source heating and is equipped with solar panels that help to improve the facility’s long-term green credentials.
Through this project, the club worked in partnership with the Football Foundation and Hampshire FA to establish a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long term vision for how sport will be played at the new facility – that is projected to increase the number of footballers aged 14-25 using the facility by 155%.
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 363 grants worth £16.5m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £37m across the whole of Hampshire.
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.
Lawrie McMenemy MBE, who spent twelve years in charge of Southampton FC, said: “This was a great opportunity to witness the fantastic work being carried out at the grassroots level by the Football Foundation, thanks to a grant that they delivered on behalf of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
“The changing room pavilion here will provide an outstanding facility to accommodate the club’s many youth and senior players for decades to come. It is vital that the thousands of people who play at the very lowest levels of the game every single week, have access to quality facilities to enjoy the sport they love.
“My role as a Football Foundation Ambassador allows me to witness the brilliant work that is being done to develop grassroots sport right across the country and I would like to thank the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, for their continued investment, which has enabled this project here in South Wonston to come to fruition.”
June Perrins, Chairman of the South Wonston Parish Council, said: “So many local people have worked hard for so long to achieve the dream of building a new pavilion, this is everything you could wish for from a facility like this. It was wonderful to see the sports pavilion completed and we were delighted that Lawrie was able to join us and open the new pavilion.
“The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund have been supportive of our plans throughout the process and the grant award enables us to continue our work to improve grassroots sports for all.”
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 South Wonston Parish Council to build a brand new changing room pavilion. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and special thanks must go to Lawrie McMenemy MBE for opening 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 South Wonston 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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