Barton’s Green changing pavilion in Havant has been transformed after work to fully refurbish the facility was unveiled recently (Sunday 13 January). The new facility, which will be enjoyed by Widbrook United FC, was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant has enabled the club and Havant Borough Council to reconfigure the existing changing pavilion to provide six new changing rooms, each with dedicated showers and toilets, a match officials’ changing room, spectator toilets, a storage area and revamped clubroom and kitchen. With the existing facilities failing to meet FA facility criteria, modernisation of the pavilion was essential to safeguard participation at the site.

The site is the home ground for Widbrook United FC – the largest junior football club in Havant. The refurbished pavilion will enable the club to offer more opportunities for boys, girls, teenagers and adults to get involved in football, and will improve the experience of residents and visitors who visit Barton’s Green and use the facility.

Havant Borough Council were awarded a £203,451 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. Havant Borough Council and Widbrook United FC worked alongside the Football Foundation and Hampshire FA to compile a five-year Football development Plan. This is a vision on how sport will be played on site, with an emphasis on increasing participation.

It is predicted that the refurbished changing pavilion will support a growth of 14 new teams at Widbrook United FC, rising from 29 to 43 teams at the club. As a result of this, it is expected that these teams will generate an additional 240 affiliated players at the club, which represents a growth of 49%.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 432 grants worth £12.8m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £28.8m across the whole of the Hampshire FA region.

Councillor Leah Turner, Cabinet Lead for Communities, Development and Housing, said: “I am very pleased that Havant Borough Council has been able to deliver this project working with Widbrook United FC and the Football Foundation.

“The club is the largest junior football club in the borough and this refurbishment will allow them to offer even more opportunities to residents.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am delighted that Havant Council and Widbrook United FC have now opened their state-of-the-art changing pavilion at Barton’s Green, thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

“Continuing to improve access to high-quality facilities like this one is a key aim for the Premier League, The FA and the Government. Delivered by the Football Foundation, their funding supports projects for clubs and organisations all over the country and is helping to boost the number of people benefiting from sport through better facilities.

“Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities.”