Hubs are safe and accessible facilities that bring communities together through football and other sports and activities.
Welcome to the Football Foundation’s Hubs programme
Using investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government through Sport England, the Hubs programme aims to create financially sustainable grassroots sports facilities with multiple artificial grass pitches.
The programme is targeted at local authorities and whilst the Foundation’s investment is football-led, Hubs will support the delivery of a wide range of other sports, activities and programmes. There’s no one-size fits all to the facility mix of a Hub - we’ll look to support projects that tackle inequalities in our four priority groups to deliver football and other sports/activities through a community-led approach.
Read through the information below to find out everything you need to know about the Hubs programme.
To access a recording of the recent programme workshops and the presentation, please follow the links below:
What is a Hub?
We've seen how sport can bring local people together and we encourage you to explore with your community how a Hub can be used beyond just football.
A Hub provides the perfect opportunity for a facility to host football alongside other sports, physical activities, and community services. There’s no one-size-fits-all. The facility mix for each Hub will respond to local need and its suitability for investment will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Typically, a Hub has at least two full-size floodlit 3G pitches, as well as supporting facilities such as car parking, a café and changing rooms.
A Hub may also include:
- Grass pitches for football and other sports
- Small-sided 3G FTP
- PlayZones - click here to find out more
- Indoor meeting space (where there is an identified need e.g. to support education delivery by a Pro-Club Community Trust)
- Other sports and recreation facilities in addition to the core football offer – such as play areas, walking and cycling, health and fitness (gym and studio)
- Other community services – such as a café, catering facilities or health and social care e.g. co-location with a GP Surgery
Who manages a Hub site?
Most Hub sites are managed by The National Football Trust and its charity Leisure United. However, the current portfolio also includes two County Football Association operated Hubs, one with University of Leeds and two with other partners.
The Foundation aims to build upon the success of the programme to date (formerly known as Parklife).
We're looking to support facility management models that maximise local re-investment potential, helping to make the game more sustainable and less reliant on the public sector
Who are our priority groups?
As well providing excellent training and match play facilities for clubs and leagues, we want Hubs to provide a balanced programme of use that supports the Foundation’s objective of tackling inequalities through our investment.
There are four main groups facing the greatest inequalities. We want you to prioritise engaging with these groups as you develop your project to provide opportunity and access to safe, inclusive and welcoming facilities.
What have we done so far?
Since 2016, we've supported 25 Hub projects since the first site opened at Graves Park in Sheffield. There are currently 13 operational sites, six under construction and a further six in development. In total, these 25 projects feature:
Who uses our Hub sites?
Hubs are busy places. To-date, the 13 operational sites have welcomed 3m football visits from 281.9k different users, with 2.6k people passing through the doors of each Hub every week.
Around 60% of peak hours usage is allocated to partner junior club training. At weekends, priority is given to mini soccer and junior football match play, typically on a central venue basis.
Hubs are key facilities for hosting the initiatives of our funding partners like The FA’s Wildcats and Walking Football programmes, as well as Premier League Kicks, Girls Talent Centres, and post-16 education courses run by pro-club community trusts.
How do I apply?
The Football Foundation is looking to develop a new pipeline of Hub projects across England to transform the grassroots game we love.
To be part of our exciting Hubs Programme, local authorities will need to go through a full application process. As a starting point, local authorities will need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form, along with supporting evidence (where required) outlining their commitment to the key principles of the fund.
To find out more about the funding process and to submit an EOI, please click the button below. The deadline for EOI submission is 5pm on Monday 8 August 2022.