Tuesday 24 September 2013
The Kent town of Thamesmead is able to offer first-class sports and leisure facilities at grassroots level thanks to the Football Foundation, the country's largest sports charity, which is funded by Premier League, The FA and the Government (via Sport England).
The official opening of Sporting Club Thamesmead took place this week where a new changing pavilion, floodlit third-generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP), and multi-use games area (MUGA) have been built thanks to funding through the Football Foundation.
"Projects such this one in Thamesmead, are so important for the local community"
Sir Trevor Brooking
The new facility will allow Trust Thamesmead to achieve its ambition of providing first class sports and leisure facilities at grassroots level in an area that has significantly lacked in community facilities, particularly sports facilities, and suffered under-investment for many years.
A further grant of £75,000 from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) has boosted the project by creating a much safer environment for players throughout the year. The FSIF is funded with £6m each year from the Premier League and is the country's largest provider of grants towards projects that improve the comfort and safety of lower-league football grounds in the professional and amateur game.
These improvements range from new stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters. In total, the FSIF has awarded 24 grants worth £3m towards grassroots sports projects worth £11m across London alone.
For the new pavilion, Thamesmead Trust worked in partnership with the London FA to secure a £769,112 grant from the Football Foundation. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded about 9,500 grants worth more than £410m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £560m.
"Developing new grassroots facilities is essential to increasing the people who have a chance to stay fit through sport"
The official opening was attended by Sir Trevor Brooking, the former West Ham United and England footballer and now The FA's Director Of Football Development.
"Projects such this one in Thamesmead, are so important for the local community," Brooking said. "The funding provided by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, through the Football Foundation, is making a real difference, with stunning new facilities, such as this one, springing up right across the country. I congratulate everyone involved, including the London FA, for their work in making this happen."
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added: "This is an outstanding new facility, which will benefit football and other sports in and around Thamesmead. Developing new grassroots facilities, such as this, is essential to increasing the number of people who have a chance to stay fit and healthy through participating in sport."