A helping hand for applicants

Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the government via Sport England, the Football Foundation is the nation’s largest sports charity. Launched in July 2000, the Foundation has so far supported around 8,000 community sports projects worth £947m.

The Foundation receives money from the very top of the professional game and also from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport through Sport England. It then uses this money to leverage even more partnership funding, to deliver a programme of new and improved community sports facilities in towns and cities across the country.

The Foundation also funds projects that increase participation in football and other sports and address some of society’s key challenges, such as social inclusion, health, education and equalities. Its mission is to improve facilities, create opportunities and build communities throughout England.

Pre application

Q. Who should I initially talk to regarding my project?
You can complete a short Expression of Interest form that can be found on our website. Completed forms are forwarded to appropriate FA and County FA representatives, one of whom will contact you to discuss your project, and help you complete a full application form. The Foundation works with The FA to offer advice on a range of issues including pre-application, football development and technical advice. Please contact your County FA development manager to discuss your project. Contact details are available on our website.

Q. Can I apply online?

Yes. Please see our website for the online forms and assistance in completing them.

Q. How long will an application take?
We expect a Facilities Large grant application for over £50,000 (maximum £500,000) to take up to 19 weeks to process. The process is not designed to be bureaucratic but to ensure that the best and most appropriate advice can be given. For example, the period of pre application consultation with the relevant county FA is there to improve the overall quality of projects.
A ‘Continuous Improvement Cycle’ is at the heart of how the Football Foundation ensures efficient assessment of applications. Since 2005/06 the average time taken to offer a grant has more than halved. This is of huge benefit to applicants who need to secure additional funding from other sources and obtain realistic construction costs.

Q. What facilities will you fund under the Facilities scheme?
Foundation Facilities funding is primarily available to support organisations that wish to develop and/or refurbish facilities to sustain and/or increase participation in football. Types of facilities we fund include: grass pitches, changing rooms, pavilions, clubhouses, artificial grass pitches (AGPs), and multi-use games areas (MUGAs).

Q. Does my organisation need to have a lease or freehold on the land we want to develop?

All applicants must have security of tenure by means of “the freehold” or by means of an uninterrupted lease. Security of tenure is a guarantee that you own or will be able to use a site. This can be acquired via a license, lease or freehold.

Our minimum security of tenure requirements are:
• for grants up to £20,000: 10 years
• for grants up to £250,000: 20 years
• for grants over £250,000: 25 years

Q. How much do you expect the applicant to put towards the project?
The grant level for projects is decided on the merits of the case.

Even in these cases, the applicant must demonstrate that they have made significant efforts to secure alternative funding sources and that no further funding is available for the project. The financial need of the applicant will be the key factor in determining a suitable grant amount.

After the grant has been awarded

Q. How long have we got to start work and make our first claim for money?
Six months from the date of your Offer Letter from us. If you think that you won’t be able to do this in time, you will need to contact your foundation project manager as soon as possible. The full ‘Terms and Conditions of Grant Aid’ document, which will accompany the formal grant Offer Letter, will have the full details.

Q. How do I make a claim?

Before you can make a claim, you must have fulfilled all pre-claim conditions detailed in your formal Offer Letter. To make a claim, you will need to download a claim form from our website, fill in the form and send it with your supporting paperwork. We will pay claims at the percentage detailed in your formal grant Offer Letter. For example, if your grant is 50 per cent of costs and you submit a claim for £4,000 we will pay you £2,000. We will treat every claim in this way until we have paid 95 per cent of your total grant.

Q. What if we’ve started work but the project is running behind schedule – who should we tell?
If your project is running behind schedule, you will need to let your foundation project manager know when you think the work will finish, so that a completion inspection can be re-scheduled.

Q. What if we’re having problems with our contractor – can anyone help?
The Foundation is unable to intervene in any dispute you may have with your contractor, as we are not legally a party in the contract. However, our qualified staff can offer support, and advise on potential action that you could take. You would be able to speak to one of our highly qualified technical advisors for further advice.

The Football Foundation’s AGP Framework
In conjunction with the FA and the Rugby Union (RFU) the Foundation recently launched a framework for the procurement of artificial pitches. This was tendered under European procurement legislation and took the innovative approach of dealing directly with companies that manufacture artificial turf carpet instead of the more traditional route of tendering projects with the installation contractors.

This was driven by a desire for single point responsibility, whereby the same company not only designs, manufactures and supplies the carpet, but arranges its installation and then oversees the pitch maintenance throughout its life. This end-to-end control facilitates the issuing of meaningful warranties covering the performance and life expectancy of the pitches. The aim is to drive up the quality that we receive from our investment.

The companies on the framework are Fieldturf Tarkett, Lano, Greenfields, SIS (Support in Sport), Tigerturf and Limonta Smith.

Visit the Football Foundation’s website for an even more detailed examination of the range of topics inherent to a school or education establishment thinking of applying for funding or seeking advice after a grant has been awarded.

For more information

Tel: 0845 3454555