Date published: 17/10/2016
Mayor of Ashford, Cllr George Koowaree, cut the ribbon alongside Lady Mayoress, Mrs Gloria Champion, and youth players of Ashford Angels Girls FC.
The Mayor of Ashford, Cllr George Koowaree, officially opened the Borough Council’s new changing room pavilion recently (Saturday 8 October 2016), thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The grant has enabled Ashford Borough Council to replace their previous 50-year-old changing accommodation with a new state-of-the-art pavilion, comprising: six team changing rooms; two officials’ changing rooms; a clubroom; kitchen facilities and spectator toilets. The new facility will be used by a range of local grassroots clubs, including: The Ashford and District Sunday League; The Ashford Saturday League; Ashford United Youth FC and Ashford Angels Girls FC.
Through this project, the Council worked in partnership with the Football Foundation and Kent FA to develop a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision for how sport will be played at the new facility – projected to raise on-site participation by 175% and establish four new women’s teams. The FDP will oversee the delivery of coach education courses including Match Official Programmes and FA Youth Module Awards.
The project was made possible thanks to a £469,678 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. It 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 more than £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
This funding in Ashford builds upon great recent grassroots investment in the Kent region, with 1966 World Cup winner George Cohen and Football Foundation President Lord Pendry recently unveiling Langton Green Association’s new £500,000 changing room pavilion.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has awarded a total of 347 grants worth over £15m towards grassroots sports projects worth nearly £32m across the whole of Kent. As part of this investment, 18 3G AGPs, 33 changing room pavilions and 56 natural grass pitches have been developed.
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 Jessamy Blanford, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Leisure and the Environment, said: “We are delighted that Spearpoint now has a modern building which can host a range of community activities and sports events. It is a much needed facility which will greatly benefit the local community and sports-fans alike, and we hope it will be well-used.”
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 Ashford Borough Council to upgrade build a new changing room pavilion. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.
“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 Ashford 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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