The Football Foundation has confirmed a new investment of £135 million into grassroots football in England over the next three years. The Foundation, the UK’s largest sports charity, will receive £15m per year from each of its investment partners – the Government, the Premier League and the Football Association.
The investment was announced on Wednesday in the shadow of Wembley stadium at Stonebridge Recreation Ground, one of 5,000 projects which the Foundation has funded to improve facilities, create opportunities and build communities throughout England.
Football Foundation Chief Executive Paul Thorogood was joined for the announcement by Andy Burnham MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore and FA Chief Executive Brian Barwick.
Since its launch in July 2000, the Foundation has invested in over 5,000 projects worth around £650m. £442m has been spent on improving facilities across the country, while £203m has been invested in community schemes that use football and sport participation as a tool to tackle social issues including crime, anti social behaviour, obesity, homelessness and mental health.
The Foundation directs 40% of its funding into the top 20% of England’s most deprived communities. The Stonebridge Recreation Ground site is the jewel in the crown of Harlesden’s urban renewal programme and an example of how a sports centre can help regenerate an entire community.
Having benefited from a £1 million Foundation grant, the site now boasts state-of-the-art facilities including a new changing pavilion with mini gym, multi-purpose hall, training rooms and a viewing terrace, along with a refurbished full size grass pitch, a floodlit 3G artificial grass pitch and an area for other sports including netball and tennis.
Speaking at the launch, Secretary of State Andy Burnham said “the Football Foundation has shown itself to be a massive force for good in the last eight years, increasing opportunities for young people to get involved in our national game and other sports. It has also dramatically improved many sports facilities for communities up and down the country. This unique partnership is a shining example of what can be done when the governing bodies of sport work in partnership with Government to deliver a streamlined investment programme into grassroots sport.”
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