From Walthamstow to the World Cup: Harry Kane’s grassroots club benefitting from Football Foundation funding
England Men’s captain Harry Kane’s childhood club, Ridgeway Rovers Football Club (FC), is supporting more young people who dream of playing for England in a World Cup to play football, thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.
Founded in 1979, Ridgeway Rovers FC provides opportunities for over 300 boys and girls in Walthamstow, North London, to get active and play sport.
Kane is the second England captain to play for the Club in its 40-year history, with David Beckham also having learnt his trade there as a child.
Despite this impressive history, the Club’s growth had been limited by quality of their pitches, which was causing many games to be called off. The games that did go ahead also didn’t provide a great experience for those playing.
This all changed with the £579,000 refurbishment of the facilities at the Peter May Sports Centre, which provided the Club with an all-weather floodlit 3G football turf pitch, thanks to a £369,000 Football Foundation grant. These facilities, which were opened by Kane in 2016, were also supported by an additional £135,000 from London Playing Fields Foundation and £75,000 from London Marathon Charitable Trust.
Ian Marshall, Chair of Ridgeway Rovers FC, said:
“Having an all-weather surface is fantastic because the kids can play every week and haven’t got to worry about whether the pitch is going to be playable. It’s incredibly important for the Football Foundation to carry on investing in grassroots football and sites like these so that kids can play.
“When I took over in 2011, we had about eight or nine teams and were on the edge of folding. This is now the busiest facility in the area with five games going on at any given time on a Sunday.”
Alex Welsh, CEO of London Playing Fields Foundation, said:
“When the Football Foundation was launched in 2000, I said it was the best thing that happened to grassroots football. The Foundation has completely transformed the landscape of grassroots facilities.
“When kids come here, not only do they enjoy the football, but they also have the opportunity to dream that one day they might be like Harry Kane.”
Dave Bricknall, Kane’s former coach, said
“This facility is a major asset for producing footballers for the future. If we want to produce more Harry Kane's and more David Beckham's, we should be looking to opening more of these facilities and making use of them.”
Robert Sullivan, CEO of the Football Foundation, said:
“The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners – the Premier League, The FA and Government through Sport England – to transform access to grassroots facilities across the country.
“The facilities here are a shining example of the power of pitches not only to produce future England stars, but to transform local lives and communities through offering more opportunities for people to play their favourite sports and get active.”