Sir Trevor Brooking CBE visited Birmingham to officially unveil a stunning new grassroots sports facility that was developed thanks to a £800,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

The former England midfielder, and current Director of Football Development at The FA, unveiled the new site on behalf of Kewford Eagles FC, who were awarded the huge sum by the Football Foundation, who manage the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. The grant of £800,000 is more than double the average grant size awarded by the Football Foundation and makes up for 74% of the total project cost.

Players from Kewford Eagles’ Under-17s and Under-18s teams marked the occasion with a celebratory football match. The players, many of whom have represented the club since they were five-years-old, were delighted as Sir Trevor Brooking CBE officially kicked-off the game with the starting whistle.

Speaking at the opening, Sir Trevor Brooking said: “I am thrilled to open this impressive new facility, and delighted to see that it is being put to such good use already with today’s match!

“By developing facilities such as this one, the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund is not only increasing participation at the grassroots level of our national game but also supporting the development of home-grown talent.”

The new 30 acre facility, compromising 11 new real grass football pitches and a state-of-the-art changing room pavilion, will significantly benefit the 550 youth footballers at Kewford Eagles, including disability players, and other members of the community.

The club worked in partnership with the Birmingham FA to secure the £800,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the £1,076,560 project.

Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England, the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 12,000 grants worth more than £490m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £651m – over £1bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000 the Football Foundation funding partners’ investment has provided 155 grants worth £13.5m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £38m across the whole of Birmingham.

By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game. Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.

An additional £50,000 was awarded to the project by Sport England’s Protecting Playing Fields scheme.

Established in 1978, Kewford Eagles is run entirely by volunteers and was awarded the ME2 Award, the highest award given by Mencap for organisations for the disabled. The club also holds the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the equivalent of an MBE for volunteer groups. Last year, Kewford were presented with both The FA County and Regional Community Club of the Year Awards at the new FA Academy at Burton-on-Trent.

Lynn Boleyn, Charity Trustee, said: “This new facility, 12 years in the planning, will provide a fantastic sporting facility for generations of children to come and we are extremely grateful to have received financial support from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for making our dreams a reality.

“I want to also put on record our thanks and appreciation to the Football Foundation in particular, for the lengths that they went to in order to make this happen for us – helping us to secure funding that is far in excess of grants that they normally award.

“Kewford Eagles is a community club providing football for all – regardless of age or ability. Our volunteers give up many hours every week to help manage and coach the teams and provide good, healthy exercise for the children where they make friends to last a lifetime.”