Tuesday 17 September 2013
BBC presenter Dan Walker saw at first hand the impact of Football Foundation funding when he took part in a PE lesson on a new playing surface at Wisewood Sports Centre in Sheffield.
Walker, who presents BBC One's preview show Football Focus, joined in as youngsters from Wisewood Community Primary School took part in a football session for Years 5-6 on the third-generation artificial pitch which was opened in June by The Lord Mayor elect.
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 the Government via Sport England. With £12m of funding, the Football Foundation is the largest single charitable donation that the Premier League makes each year.
"I'm pleased to see this investment going into improving the city's grassroots sport site"
In December last year, the Foundation provided funding of £150,000 to Sheffield City Council towards developing the state-of-the-art facility and Walker, a Football Foundation ambassador, was there to tour the site when building work began.
"The pitch was still in the early stages of being developed when I visited the site; I had to wear a hard hat and steel toe caps then," Walker said.
"As a keen footballer, and a Sheffield resident, I'm really pleased 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 has awarded 118 grants worth £9m to grassroots projects in Sheffield."
As well as seeing the facility in action and joining the training session,Walker chatted to the youngsters about their favourite teams and about the facility.
"We're absolutely delighted with the new 3G playing surface," said Wisewood Sports Centre Manager Maggie Birt. "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.
"It was a lot of work by a number of different partners, including Sheffield Council, the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA and the Football Foundation, to turn the dream of this pitch into a reality, and having Walker present the Foundation’s cheque to us was a real boost.
"To be able to welcome Dan Walker back to see what we have built with the funding that he handed over to us is the icing on the cake!"