Football legend Brooking opens outstanding new sporting facility in Thamesmead

Football legend Sir Trevor Brooking CBE showed his support for grassroots sport today at the official opening of Sporting Club Thamesmead, where an outstanding new changing pavilion, floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP), and multi-use games area (MUGA) have been built thanks to funding through the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity, and other contributors.

The new facility will allow Trust Thamesmead to achieve its ambition of providing first class sports and leisure facilities at grassroots level in an area that has previously significantly lacked in community facilities, particularly sports facilities, and seen under-investment for many years.

The new, accessible and iconic changing pavilion boasts numerous changing facilities, indoor activity rooms, and office and social facilities. To gain funding for the changing pavilion, Trust Thamesmead worked in partnership with the London FA to secure a £769,112 grant from the Football Foundation. Funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 9,500 grants worth more than £410m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £560m. Across London alone, the Football Foundation has awarded 125 grants worth £22m towards grassroots sports projects worth £52m.

Additional funding for the club’s new floodlit, 3G AGP and top-of-the-range floodlit MUGA came from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), in the shape of a £75,000 grant, in order to create a much safer environment for players throughout the year. Funded with £6m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters. In total, the FSIF has awarded 24 grants worth £3m towards grassroots sports projects worth £11m across London.

The project has also received £200,000 funding from The FA, as part of their capital allocation within the Whole Sport Plan agreed with Sport England. This is awarded to support the sustainability of community clubs and create more opportunities to participate in sport within a high quality environment.

Sir Trevor Brooking said: “I am so pleased to be opening such a fantastic facility. Projects such this one in Thamesmead, are so important for the local community. They help increase participation in our national game by allowing more people to play, purely for the love of it. They are also critical to supporting The FA’s agenda for developing more home-grown talent.
“The funding provided by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, through the Football Foundation, is making a real difference, with stunning new facilities, such as this one, springing up right across the country. I congratulate everyone involved, including the London FA, for their work in making this happen.”

Vic Grimes, trustee at Trust Thamesmead, commented: “I’m very pleased to see the completion of this project which will provide a step change in sports provision in Thamesmead.

“None of this would’ve been possible without the solid support we have received from Bexley Council’s Members and Officers during the planning and construction stages. This coupled with the fantastic response from the Football Foundation and our other funders mean that Thamesmead will at last have the quality facility it has been sorely lacking for so long.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added: “This is an outstanding new facility, which will benefit football and other sports in and around Thamesmead. Developing new grassroots facilities, such as this, is essential to increasing the number of people who have a chance to stay fit and healthy through participating in sport.

“The Football Foundation is dedicated to improving sports sites across the country with investment from our funding partners – the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England). I congratulate Trust Thamesmead and the London FA for their hard work on this project.”

Currently the FA’s Head of Youth Development, Sir Trevor Brooking CBE began his professional career for West Ham United in 1966 and remained there until retiring in 1984. During this time, he made 635 appearances, scored 102 goals and won The FA Cup with the club on two occasions. During his international career he played 47 times for England, scoring five goals. More recently, he is been particularly well known for his match commentating and summarising for the BBC.