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Monday 10 December 2012

Walker signs up for Football Foundation

BBC television presenter becomes the Football Foundation’s latest signing

Dan Walker at the site for a new 3G artificial grass pitch at the Wisewood Sports Centre

Dan Walker, the BBC television presenter, has become the Football Foundation’s latest signing after agreeing to become one of its Ambassadors.

"The grassroots is so important to our national game"
Dan Walker

The Football Foundation is the country’s biggest sports charity and funds the development of better community sports facilities with money provided by the Premier League, The FA and government (via Sport England).

Dan, who presents the BBC One show Football Focus joins a growing list of friends of the Foundation that includes Gary Neville, John Scales, Ben Shephard, Dion Dublin, Graham Taylor, Georgie Bingham, Faye White and Peter Beardsley.

“I am thrilled to become an ambassador for the Football Foundation,” said Walker.  “The grassroots is so important to our national game and the volunteers that give up their weekends so people of all ages and abilities can play for the love of it deserve all the help they can get – and decent pitches and facilities.”

With £12m of funding, the Football Foundation is the largest single charitable donation that the Premier League makes each year.

Over the last decade the Premier League has invested £169m in the Football Foundation, which is also funded by The Football Association and the Government (via Sport England).

Walker, a Crawley Town FC fan, has wasted no time in getting out and about to promote how the Premier League’s funding is supporting the millions of grassroots players and volunteers at community football level.

Funding for new pitches

Walker presented a cheque for £150,000 of Foundation funding to Sheffield City Council which will help to develop a brand new floodlit third generation artificial grass pitch (AGP) in North West Sheffield, at the Wisewood Sports Centre.

The two partner junior teams, Wisewood JFC and Sheffield Sixes JFC, are two of the many clubs who will benefit from the new pitch which will be managed by the newly-created Forge Valley School.

"The Foundation is committed to supporting projects like this one in Sheffield and right across the country with money generously provided by the Premier League"
Paul Thorogood

Lesley Whittington, Sheffield City Councillor and Senior Project Manager, said: “This project will make use of what would otherwise be a derelict former school site, involving several partners to provide a facility for activities that will raise participation in the area.

“We are extremely grateful for the grant awarded to us by the Football Foundation.”

Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.

“Sheffield City Council has been extremely energetic and has worked tirelessly in partnership with the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA to secure this funding,” said Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation. “I am thrilled to see their hard work rewarded with this substantial Football Foundation grant.

“We are especially delighted to welcome Dan Walker as an Ambassador – and as a Sheffield resident it was a particularly fitting first visit to present a cheque on behalf of the Foundation towards developing a stunning new 3G surface at the Wisewood Sports Centre.

“The Foundation is committed to supporting projects like this one in Sheffield and right across the country with money generously provided by the Premier League, The FA, the Government (via  Sport England), who have been our core funders since 2000.”

Other projects currently underway in Sheffield include the new Westfield Community Football Centre in south east Sheffield and a new AGP in Lowfield.

Since the Foundation was set up in 2000 it has worked closely with the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA to support 87 grassroots sports projects across the county with grants worth over £13m. These grants have attracted further partnership funding of £40m into the area’s grassroots.

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Key Points

  • Dan Walker agrees to become Football Foundation Ambassador
  • BBC television presenter handed over £150,000 of Foundation funding to Sheffield City Council
  • Premier League has invested £169m in Football Foundation over last decade