Football and government combine to boost sports facilities

The new Minister for Sport, Helen Grant, alongside Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, The FA General Secretary, Alex Horne and Football Foundation CEO, Paul Thorogood recently launched the new ‘Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund’ at the London Nautical School (LNS).
A keen sportswoman herself, Helen Grant MP, made it clear that: “the investment of £102m will encourage many people to get into sport.” The Minister also highlighted the unique power that sport has to change lives for the better and to make positive impacts in local communities.
After the announcement, photo opportunities were held on third generation (3G) artificial grass pitches (AGPs) adjacent to the school which had recently been refurbished with a Foundation grant of £77,000. Since the upgrade, the site saw a 22 per cent rise in users, and more than 250 local school children using the facility every week.
Head of PE at the London Nautical School, Jim Goldsmith, outlined how he and the pupils: “Experience first-hand the impact that these pitches make to them and make to their learning. With facilities like this, you’re going to encourage participation rates to go up and identify the next talent coming through.”
The new set of funding will replace the Football Foundation’s existing Facilities, Build the Game and Premier League Community Facility Fund schemes and will provide investment towards building new and improving existing sports facilities like those used by the London Nautical School, with a focus on the countries most deprived areas.
 Applications will be declared open to schools as well as local councils; grassroots football clubs, local sports associations, and sport charities in January 2014 however, organisations can register their interest now at the Football Foundation website:

Liverpool FC Boss pays local St. Helen’s school a visit
Rainhill High School, a mixed gender comprehensive in St. Helens, was recently awarded £300,000 by the Premier League Community Facilities Fund (PLCFF) to build a third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) on site.
The PLCFF scheme, delivered by the Football Foundation, aims to increase participation through establishing links between professional football clubs and their communities.
The new surface is one of the first of its kind in the area and was opened by Liverpool FC manager, Brendan Rodgers, alongside Liverpool FC players Jordan Ibe and Lloyd Jones. Also an ex pupil at the school, Jordan Ibe, said: “Facilities like this are really important. I remember that before this new pitch was here it was just a field, but this new 3G pitch is the closest thing to grass and is great for training and playing matches on.”
Jordan was educated at the school after the Liverpool FC Foundation and Rainhill High School established an educational partnership in 2009. The school provides GCSE education to the club’s Under-12s to Under‑16s, BTEC qualifications to the Under‑18s and life-skills education to the Under-21s.
Talking about the new facility, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said: “You don’t get much better than this. It will allow not only the elite young players from Liverpool to benefit, but also the young children from the school and the local community.”
The new surface will also provide a sports centre for the Liverpool FC Foundation to deliver its Premier League Kicks programme, coaching schemes and holiday courses. In addition, over 30 local football teams from four different clubs will now have a top-of-the-range pitch in which to train and play matches on.
Head Teacher, John Pout, commented: “Funded by the Premier League Community Facilities Funded, this third generation artificial grass pitch now enables football to be played all year round.” He concluded, “Our partnership with Liverpool Football Club, their Foundation and local clubs is fantastic and long may that continue.”

North West Leicestershire’s first 3G surface
Former Leicester City FC captain Steve Walsh visited Newbridge High School Academy in North West Leicestershire recently to celebrate the opening of the school’s new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP).

Funded by a Football Foundation grant of £409,265, the new surface, complete with floodlights, is the first 3G pitch in North West Leicestershire. Now open for use, the new facility will allow the school’s Academy to enhance its extensive sports provision to its pupils, as well as increase sporting opportunities to over 40 teams in the local community. 

Maxine Adams, business manager at Newbridge High School Academy, said: “We are delighted that a 3G AGP has successfully come to North West Leicestershire and are extremely grateful to all who have worked incredibly hard to make this all possible, especially the excellent support from the Football Foundation from the very start to now: the grand opening.” Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This was truly a landmark day for the Newbridge High School Academy Trust and for this part of Leicestershire, which now boasts its first ever 3G playing surface.”

Football Focus presenter pitches up with a surprise for pupils in Sheffield
Local school children in Sheffield had a day to remember when BBC One’s Football Focus presenter, Dan Walker, visited Wisewood Sports Centre to join in their morning PE lesson on the centre’s new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP).
The Football Foundation Ambassador was returning to the site after handing over a cheque for £150,000 from the Foundation to build the new 3G AGP last December.
With the pitch now complete, Dan was able to test out the new surface with the pupils from Wisewood Community Primary School and see first-hand the difference the facility had made to them and the local community. Dan, a local Sheffield resident, expressed how pleased he was to see this sort of investment going into improving the city’s grassroots sport sites.
“In fact, since it was launched in 2000, the Football Foundation, which is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England, has awarded 118 grants worth £9m to grassroots projects in Sheffield,” he said.

The pitch was opened in June of this year by The Lord Mayor elect and has been used throughout the summer months for football activity days and by local youth team, Wisewood Juniors Little Lions.
Maggie Birt, Wisewood Sports Centre manager, added: “We’re absolutely delighted with the new 3G playing surface. It has made such a difference to sport in the area, and a lot more local people and schools are getting the chance to become active and stay healthy.”