Date published: 06/09/2016
Youngsters pose in front of the new changing room.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council officially opened its state-of-the-art £1,090,000 football hub recently (Saturday 3 September 2016), thanks to a £500,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
The grant has enabled Stoke-on-Trent City Council to build a brand new changing room pavilion at the Kidsgrove Athletic FC Development Centre, located in Packmoor Playing Fields. The new facility comprises: four team changing rooms; two officials’ rooms; kitchen facilities and spectator toilets. An extensive pitch upgrade has also been installed, helping to build two new full-size football pitches and two junior pitches.
Through this project, the club worked in partnership with the Football Foundation and Staffordshire FA to implement a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP) – a long-term vision for how sport will be played on-site. The FDP is projected to increase the number of teams in the Potteries Junior Youth League by 13 and raise the overall number of adult teams in existing league structures by 12.
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.
The grant builds on previous Football Foundation Partners’ investment worth over £1.3m into local grassroots sites, the Bradeley Football Development Centre and Hardman Football Centre. Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 198 grants worth almost £17m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £40m across the whole of Staffordshire.
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 Terry Follows, Cabinet Member for Greener City, Development and Leisure for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “The opening of these facilities comes as we are celebrating our year as the UK’s European City of Sport. We are committed to providing a legacy of sporting opportunities for residents to encourage participation and promote health and wellbeing.
“We are staging community events across the city as part of this work, and what a fantastic occasion to hold our event in Packmoor to coincide with the launch of these excellent facilities. The football hub will provide really high quality facilities and support junior football in the north of the city. We’d like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for supporting these facilities.”
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 Stoke-on-Trent City Council to build a brand new changing pavilion and pitch upgrade. 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 Stoke-on-Trent 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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