Ex-Manchester United forward, Eric Cantona, rounded off a week of film promotion with a visit to a sports facility in Mile End Park, a facility built with the help of a £1m grant from the Football Foundation.
After a screening of his new film, Looking for Eric, Cantona and the film’s director, Ken Loach, fielded a Q&A session with young people from Sir John Cass Sixth Form College and Bethnal Green United FC.
These organisations are two of many that benefit from access to the high quality artificial pitches and changing facilities at the Mile End Park site every week and the Football Foundation grant has helped to regenerate one of the most deprived areas in London.
Loach said he was “delighted” to have made the visit.
“It is great that people like the Football Foundation exist to provide sports facilities for local people like this one,” he reflected.
The new site in Mile End opened its doors in 2005 and boasts a 14-room changing pavilion alongside ten state-of-the-art floodlit artificial five-a-side pitches.
The Football Foundation’s Junior Kit Scheme provides £400 worth of free kit and equipment to Under-18 school and club teams.
Cantona, who twice won The FA Cup with Manchester United, and Loach also presented pupils and players from Sir John Cass and Bethnal Green United FC with a full Junior Kit Scheme strip.
“It is a genuine honour to have Ken and Eric visit a Football Foundation facility for the climax of their week of promotion,” said Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation.
“The film resonates with the Foundation in particular because it brilliantly conveys the passion that football can inspire and the loyalty that it can engender amongst fellow supporters and friends.”
The Football Foundation is the UK’s largest sports charity with an annual income of £40m provided by The FA, the Premier League and the Government. Football Foundation projects are directed at benefiting communities and the grassroots of the game.
Since its launch in July 2000 the Football Foundation has:
* supported 6,688 projects worth over £802m
* secured £442m in additional inward investment
* delivered a £5 return on every £1 invested by each funding partner
* funded 1,275 facility projects worth £580m
* funded 2,105 community projects worth £220m
* funded 221 artificial turf pitches
* funded 472 changing facilities
* kitted out over 250,000 youngsters with free football kits
* secured £30m funding from Barclays Bank for a grass roots investment programme
For more information on the Football Foundation, including details of how your football club could be benefit from their support, visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk.