Monday 12 August 2013
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, last week officially opened Wigan Youth Zone, the largest such facility in the country, and built with the aid of the Premier League Community Facility Fund.
"To actually see this facility open gives me a tremendous amount of pride"
Wigan Youth Zone is the brainchild of David Whelan, the Wigan Athletic chairman, and Wigan businessmen, Martin Ainscough and Bill Ainscough, who each gave donations to ensure the project got off the ground and helping that has been a grant of £350,000 from the PLCFF to Wigan Athletic Community Trust to build four 3G football pitches. Whelan attended the Prime Minister's opening ceremony, along with Premier League Chairman Anthony Fry.
The Prime Minister had visited the area several years ago and so was delighted to see it come to fruition.
"To be here to actually see this facility open gives me a tremendous amount of pride," Cameron said. "It is a great day for Wigan who can now say they have the biggest youth club in the country."
The Youth Zone opened in June and already has 6,000 young members enjoying its facilities including its football pitches. Wigan Youth is open to all young people aged 8-19 for £5 membership a year and 50p entry per visit.
"Wigan Athletic has a fantastic reputation for community development delivery and now the club is set to become an even more important hub thanks to the Wigan Youth Zone," Richard Scudamore, Premier League Chief Executive, said. "That is what Premier League Community Facility Fund is all about, providing sports facilities that reinvigorate communities."
As well as the funds to build the pitches the Premier League has contributed to Wigan Athletic Community Trust, in partnership with the Youth Zone, to run football activities at the facilities.
A grant of £118,290 from the Premier League/PFA Community Fund over the next three years has been awarded to allow the appointment of a new football officer and coaches from Wigan Athletic Community Trust to organise football activities for 8-21-year-olds in the evening during the week, monthly football competitions, football camps during school holidays and weekend football and sports festivals.
"The PLCFF is all about, providing sports facilities that reinvigorate communities"
As well as playing football, the facility will use the power of the game to deliver literacy programmes and other means to give youth in the areas pathways to a better future.
"The Premier League is very pleased to support both the development of the football pitches and the recruitment of this new football officer," Simon Morgan, Head of Community Development at the Premier League, said. "The Youth Zone promises to be an exciting development for the young people of Wigan and this new grant will create a hub of community activity for Wigan Athletic Community Trust."
The Premier League Community Facility Fund - delivered by the Football Foundation and funded by the Premier League - is investing £18m over three years to develop new or refurbished sports facilities for local people across the country. The Fund is open to all football club community-led organisations from the Premier League, Football League and Football Conference.