Tuesday 06 May 2014
For more than a quarter of a century the Kewford Eagles club in Birmingham has been helping people of all abilities in the area play the beautiful game.
The club is run entirely by volunteers and was awarded the ME2 Award, the highest award given by Mencap for organisations for the disabled, and it 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.
Membership has grown to more than 500 and the club has been further boosted by funds from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund that have helped Kewford Eagles to enjoy new facilities that were officially opened by Sir Trevor Brooking CBE last week.
The FA's Director of Football Development was impressed by the new £1m facilities over 30 acres, which compromises 11 new real grass football pitches and a state-of-the-art changing room pavilion. As well as the 550 youth footballers at Kewford Eagles, including disability players, other members of the community will benefit from the facilities for which £800,000, or three-quarters of funding, came from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund via the Football Foundation, the country's largest sports charity, which delivers the funding from the Facilities Fund.
Players from Kewford Eagles' Under-17 and Under-18 teams, many of whom have represented the club since they were five-years-old, marked the occasion with a celebratory football match, which was started by Sir Trevor.
"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," Sir Trevor said.
Lynn Boleyn, Kewford Eagles vice-chairman, gave her thanks to the Facilities Fund and the Foundation for making a 12-year plan come to fruition.
"Kewford Eagles is a community club providing football for all - regardless of age or ability," Boleyn said. "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."
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which was launched in October 2013, will invest £102m into the country’s sports infrastructure over the three years to 2016. Forecasts suggest during that period the PLFAFF will build more than 100 new changing-room facilities,150 new or refurbished 3G pitches and about 200 grass pitches.