Freestyle football world champion and world record holder, Liv Cooke, joins Football Foundation team
- The Football Foundation - the Premier League, The FA and Government’s charity welcomes Liv Cooke, British professional football freestyler and current five-time world record holder, as one of the Charity’s newly named official Fans
- Liv will support the Football Foundation in unlocking the power of pitches to transform lives and communities across England as it gears up to the 2022 UEFA European Women’s Championship
- The announcement comes as the Football Foundation, South Ribble Borough Council and Liv Cooke break ground on a new best-in-class grassroots facility in her home county of Lancashire
Today, the Football Foundation announces that Liv Cooke, the freestyle football world champion and five-time world record holder, joins the charity as an official Football Foundation Fan, a new term adopted by the charity for their high-profile supporters.
Throughout her career, Liv has been dedicated to increasing female participation in football by advocating for better grassroots facilities that are welcoming and accessible to everyone. In her role as a Football Foundation Fan, working alongside the charity Liv will offer advice and support to provide high quality football facilities, meaning more people can play sport, improving physical and mental wellbeing. This will kick off with her working alongside South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire FA supporting the development of new programmes at the South Ribble Playing Pitch Hub, and advice on making the facilities accessible for all.
This will lead to a new best-in-class grassroots facility at Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre, with construction works now underway for the Hub.
The new facility, which has been supported thanks to a £816,027 grant from the Football Foundation, and further funding from South Ribble Borough Council, will see improvements at the leisure centre, delivering two full size new 3G pitches and a fully-accessible single storey sports pavilion including changing facilities for the local community. It is hoped that the new facilities and Liv’s involvement will encourage and empower more girls and women to take up the sport as the country gears up towards hosting the Women’s Euro 2022.
The facility, which is due to open in Spring 2022, is part of the Football Foundation’s ongoing work to improve local football facilities across England. Since its creation 21 years ago by the Premier League, the FA and the Government, the Football Foundation and its Funding Partners have delivered over 20,400 grants to improve facilities, including 958 3G pitches, 8,726 natural grass pitches, and 1,223 changing facilities.
Across the North West, the Football Foundation has funded 839 new facilities, improving 581 pitches and has a plan to invest a total of £366m* on football facilities by 2030 - including the new facility at Bamber Bridge.
Liv Cooke commented:
“It's an absolute honour to have been asked to become an official Football Foundation Fan. I have been fortunate enough to have benefitted from some great facilities over the years and, as a result, have seen first-hand just how important they are.
“Football gave me confidence, life-long friends and endless hours of joy and I believe everybody should have access to enjoy this beautiful game that changed my life.
“So many women and girls will have felt inspired by the Euros but struggled to find a route into the game. Football truly is a sport for all and I am here to show everyone that, no matter your background, your dreams can come true.
“It was great to meet players from Bamber Bridge United JFC and Lostock Hall JFC who will benefit from the great pitches once the site is finished! I hope that working together on this new facility, which is only 10 minutes from where I grew up, is just the beginning of a long and impactful partnership and I cannot wait to get started.”
Football Foundation CEO Robert Sullivan commented:
“We are incredibly excited to welcome Liv Cooke as a Football Foundation Fan and to have her input in the development of this much needed new grassroots facility in South Ribble.
“This project is a great example of what can be achieved when a local authority works with the Football Foundation, alongside people like Liv who are passionate about improving grassroots facilities.
“Thanks to the investment of the Premier League, The FA and Sport England, better grassroots football facilities are having a transformative impact on people’s physical and mental health, bringing communities together and benefiting local economies across England.
“As we gear up towards hosting the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 in England, our work with Liv and the delivery of this new facility provides a landmark moment where we can truly capitalise on the passion for our national game, encouraging more girls and women to take up the sport.”
Councillor Mick Titherington, Deputy Leader of South Ribble Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“We’re incredibly proud of Liv’s achievements in the world of freestyle football and are absolutely delighted to be working with her on this magnificent new development.
“The creation of the South Ribble Playing Pitch Hub is a key element of our ‘More People, More Active’ strategy, which aims to get more adults and children to participate in sport. At the heart of this strategy is the determination to provide the very best facilities for our residents.
“The Playing Pitch Hub represents a major investment by the Council, so it’s important we get it absolutely right. By teaming with the Football Foundation and their new official Football Foundation Fan Liv Cooke, we are on track to deliver a world class local facility approved and endorsed by a world champion local sports star.
“We can’t wait for this facility to be open and available for use by the Liv Cookes of tomorrow.”