Ten million pounds made available by the National Lottery to get communities more active


This month sees the launch of an exciting new programme from Sport England, funded by the National Lottery, and delivered by the Football Foundation that will support targeted communities across England to get more active. 

Active Through Football is initially providing 13 projects with the funding to increase participation in football.

A shortlist of 50 targeted local authority areas was drawn up in 2020 - all of which are home to communities who face some of the greatest inequalities to being physically active. Organisations across the areas were made aware of the Active Through Football investment opportunity.

Female football player with number 2 on shirt
Female football player with number 2 on shirt
young male football player controls the ball
young male football player controls the ball

Following a competitive application process, the decision was made that targeted revenue investment would initially be shared in 13 places over the next five years, with an aim of tackling some of the stubborn inequalities that make certain communities less active than others. 

Each successful project is being delivered by a group made up of a broad range of organisations who cut across sectors and understand their audiences and communities, including local community organisations. Initially, projects will be delivered in Barnsley, Birmingham, Blackpool, Gateshead, Leeds, Oldham, Plymouth, Rotherham, Southampton, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Tameside and Wolverhampton.

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said: “There is a reason why football is followed and played by so many the world over. It brings people together and helps build connections in communities. It’s also the sport that is played the most in England and has a reach into places where our research shows activity levels are lower. Sport England is proud to be one of the funding partners helping to tackle these inequalities and to support more people from a variety of backgrounds to enjoy playing football and all the benefits that brings.” 

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “These grant awards are fantastic news for local communities across the country. Football is a game for everyone - regardless of their background - and it’s only right that people across all walks of life are able to play the nation’s favourite game.

“Over the past 21 years, we have been working with communities up and down the country to ensure everyone has access to play football.  

“Thanks to Sport England National Lottery Investment, this new project will help to transform people’s lives, unlocking the many benefits of football for the community.”

Notes to editors

The full list of successful applicants:

Area Lead Organisation
Barnsley Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Birmingham Aston Villa Foundation
Blackpool Blackpool FC Community Trust
Gateshead Gateshead Council
Leeds Leeds United Foundation
Oldham Oldham Council
Plymouth Argyle Community Trust
Rotherham Rotherham United Community Sports Trust
Southampton Saints Foundation
Stockton-on-Tees North Riding FA
Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire FA
Tameside Active Tameside
Wolverhampton Wolves Foundation


About Active Through Football

Active Through Football is an exciting new programme from Sport England, funded by the National Lottery and delivered by the Football Foundation. The ambition of the programme is to increase activity levels and create sustained behaviour change. Each of the area’s supported have developed a plan which has been designed with the specific needs of targeted local communities in mind.

Targeted revenue investment will be invested in areas successful with their Active Through Football application over the next five years, with an aim of increasing activity levels and creating lasting behaviour change in people aged 16+ from lower socio-economic groups.

Visit https://footballfoundation.org.uk/active-through-football for more information on the Active Through Football programme.

About the Football Foundation

The Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK.  It champions and supports fair access to quality football facilities for everyone, regardless of gender, race, disability or place.

The Foundation receives money from the Premier League, The FA and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, through Sport England.  This is matched with partnership funding and awarded as grants to create outstanding grassroots facilities that enable better games and attract more players, helping to transform communities.

Since 2000, it has awarded more than 20,400 grants to improve facilities worth more than £770m – including 958 artificial grass pitches, 8,726 natural grass pitches and 1,223 changing facilities. This has attracted an additional £1bn of partnership funding – totalling over £1.8bn investment in grassroots football so far.

Through the Foundation, the Premier League, The FA, DCMS and Sport England have come together to create Local Football Facility Plans for every area in England. They identify priority projects where demand is greatest, and the impact will be strongest.  They will guide work and stimulate the action required to deliver them over the next 10 years to transform many more local facilities.