Football is for everyone


Football is a powerful sport, bringing people together, and the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation, believes it should be accessible to everyone, regardless of gender, race, disability or place.  

To support this, applicants making grant requests over £25k, are required to undertake community engagement, to ensure their proposed facility via it’s usage plan, will address the inequalities facing underrepresented groups in being physically active and having access to community accessible facilities. To help clubs and organisations in this vital work the Foundation has launched a Community Engagement Toolkit. 


What is community engagement? 

Community engagement is an ongoing process which doesn’t stop when the project is delivered. Working collaboratively to build lasting and rewarding partnerships and relationships helps build trust with local communities, instilling ownership, inclusivity and pride in a project. Community engagement doesn’t have to be complicated. By speaking to, listening and working with people to understand their needs a truly collaborative programme will be designed and delivered.  

Continual engagement ensures that facilities and activities meet the changing needs of the community. 

Why is community engagement important? 

Research shows that four groups face the greatest inequalities. Before submitting applications, the Foundation encourages applicants to engage with these four priority groups to find out what opportunities and access they need from facilities and activities:  

  • Low socio-economic groups  
  • Women and girls 
  • People with disabilities 
  • Culturally diverse communities 
football players leaving the pitch
football players leaving the pitch

Jack Matthews, Head of Delivery at The Football Foundation says: “At the Football Foundation, we’ve seen from delivering facilities for over 20 years that the most successful community sport and physical spaces are designed and delivered in partnership with local people.  

“The Community Engagement Toolkit was developed with the help of Sported, a UK wide charity promoting fairness and equity for people through grassroots sport and physical activity. It will support applicants to carry out their own engagement. We know the traditional ‘build it and they will come’ approach is not the most effective way to deliver the facilities that a community needs and deserves. 

“This Toolkit is designed to help transform connections and relationships, enabling greater collaboration between facilities and local people to design facilities and activities that are inclusive for everyone.” 

Rukhsana Hussein, Active Women Co-ordinator says of the toolkit: 

“You’ll be given practical advice to help you find and engage with community organisations in your area, listen to their views and collaborate to build something special. You’ll find details of how to work together with seldom heard groups such as women and girls and ethnically diverse communities. 

“There are clips from facility owners and users that give some real-life examples of how fruitful effective community engagement can be. Though its simple, its important.” 

How applicants find the toolkit 

  • Applicants can find the toolkit here
  • Once funding applications to the Foundation have gone through the pre-application stage, emails will be sent to applicants to signpost them to the Community Engagement Toolkit. 
  • Those developing applications can speak to their Foundation Delivery Manager for advice & support