Eagles flying high after securing dream £449k grant

A Staffordshire junior football club has secured a fantastic result with the news that the Football Foundation are to support their dream of having a new home.

Eccleshall Eagles Junior Football Club have received a cheque for £448,967 towards the total project cost from the Football Foundation, the UK's largest sports charity.

The Eagles - whose website is powered by Club Website - are a Charter Standard club running 14 junior teams between the ages of six and 18 years of age, with 180 members.

With their recent growth outstripping the availability of local pitches, the Eagles have spent the past five years working with partners to find a suitable new home.

Now thanks to the Football Foundation and Staffordshire County Council, they will be playing at their new home at Drake Hall, Eccleshall - which will boast three full-sized junior pitches and a clubhouse - in time for the start of the 2014 season. Work on site will start early in 2013.

It will be a huge boost for the club who have, in recent years, been forced to play on any local pitch that could be found, with some areas used as pitches converted into farmer’s fields. The club has even had to move cows off of pitches before being able to train!

Jon Busfield, Chairman of Eccleshall Eagles, described the Foundation's significant contribution to the project as “fantastic news".

"We are absolutely delighted that the Football Foundation and Staffordshire County Council have supported the club’s development plans, alongside existing commitments from Sport England, Staffordshire Environmental Fund and Lloyds Bank," said Busfield.

“Without all of their support, working collaboratively with the club, we would never have been able to create these new pitches and clubhouse. We would like to thank them, as would, I am sure, a generation of grateful young people in the Eccleshall area who will benefit from this significantly.

"The club has some great development plans, including extending our new girls section as well as developing greater coaching and player development. We are really looking forward to our first competitive season playing at our new ground – it will be like playing in a Cup Final every weekend playing here!”

Since it was launched in 2000, the Football Foundation - funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England) - has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.

Chief Executive Paul Thorogood said: “I am delighted to see this tremendous investment in new facilities which will be an asset for the local community for many years to come.

"Eccleshall Eagles Junior Football Club has worked tirelessly in partnership with Staffordshire FA to reach this stage and deserve great credit for their efforts.

“Projects like this would not be possible without the essential support of our funding partners the Premier League, The FA and the Government, whose crucial financial backing is helping to transform the grassroots landscape in this country.”

You can visit Eccleshall Eagles' club website at: www.clubwebsite.co.uk/eccleshalleaglesjuniorsfc01

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