£102m boost for grassroots football facilities

Grassroots football in England has been boosted by news of a £102m of investment into local football facilities over the next three years.

The newly-named Premier League & FA Facilities Fund sees investment from these two regular funding partners along with the Government, via Sport England, towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.

The fund, which begins in January 2014, will be delivered by the Football Foundation, who have overseen almost £1 billion of investment in grassroots football in England since it was formed in 2000.

This £102m of new investment will enable the Foundation to continue to help to increase participation in football, by encouraging more people to play the game on high-quality surfaces, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country.

Helen Grant MP, newly-appointed Minister for Sport and Equalities, said: “This partnership shows what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together to help strengthen our national game at the grassroots.

“The investment will encourage many people to get into sport in some of the most deprived areas of the country. Sport has a unique power to change lives for the better and this will make a positive impact in many local communities.”

Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities to benefit from the new fund will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, through the outreach work of the clubs’ community trusts.

“Premier League clubs are committed to playing an active role as hubs of their communities, particularly in the area of sports participation, from the grassroots level through to their Academies, said the Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

“The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund will help them to support a new generation of facilities across the country, particularly in the most deprived areas.”

Whilst still by far the most significant investment in grassroots football in the UK, funding from the Foundation’s three key funding partners has dropped by 43% since the Foundation was launched.

The Premier League, FA and Government all invested £20m per year when the Foundation when it was launched back in 2000, a total of £180m over three years. These sums have since been slashed to 12m per year from the Premier League and the FA, whilst the Goverment now provides just £10m of Sport England funding per year.

Despite the decline in investment, the Football Foundation continues to receive praise from across the game for their invaluable work, which has seen them issue 9,600 grants totalling £412m. They have used this to attract an additional £565m of match funding, taking their total investment in the grassroots game to almost £1 billion.

“I am delighted that the Premier League, the FA and the Government have agreed to continue with their generous investment into the grassroots of the game through this new fund and grateful for their continued confidence in the Foundation to deliver it,” said Football Foundation chief executive Paul Thorogood.

“This £102m is excellent news for local communities and will enable the Foundation to continue our mission to transform the inventory of grassroots football facilities across the country.

“The Football Foundation has pioneered numerous sophisticated performance management and analysis systems since our launch in 2000, so I can absolutely guarantee that this investment will be directed to where it is needed most and where it will have the greatest impact.”

New grassroots facilities funding – have your say!

What do you think of the new funding available to the grassroots game? Has your club benefited from Football Foundation funding in the past? Is your club in desperate need of funding to survive? Should the game’s major stakeholders be doing more to support the national game?

Let us have your thoughts via the comments section below.

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. Lee Shelton on October 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    This is great news but we have to make sure that everyone is aware of the opportunity, sometimes clubs miss out on the things they need due to lack do knowledge. Not everyone surfs the net, even now.

  2. James Hogg on October 31, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    This sounds like good news, however if a club like ours have to find a percentage of any funding it would be dead in the water from the beginning. Since we were formed in 1952 we have survived just on players weekly subsribtions and fund raising such as spot the ball tickets. We are desperate for better stripping accomodation but seem to get nowhere when trying to get funding.We are an adult side 15 up to 40 plus of age. This often seems to be the problem.

  3. Maureen Fiander on October 31, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I have Full Planning permission for a Club House at my ground which I desperately need so that my Girls and boys, and Adult Men can all have facilities when they are playing at the same time. All we have at present is a wooden hut and awful rusty metal toilet block. Have 19 years left on Lease from Kent County Council and ground is in Ramsgate, Kent.

  4. Belinda Platts on October 31, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    We are a newly formed club this session, we applied for a grant to help towards buying 7v7 goals.
    Can not thank the Football Foundation for their help with the gant.

  5. paul fudgell on November 1, 2013 at 8:12 am

    we have 7 junior team ,but we play on council pitches,which really need to get better ,we have bean trying to get a clubhouse and new facilities,but the council does not want to no.would be great if somebody could do somethink about this .i have had my boys since they were 6 years old and are now 15 ,as we all no children are going away from football ,and if we havent got good venues for all kinds of people ,its never going to happen

  6. Simon Molloy on November 1, 2013 at 9:25 am

    This new investment is great news and I hope that it it channelled to help clubs like ours develop the right enviroment and coaching structures from the ground floor up so we can see more english players progressing to the top flight clubs. I’m sure this is the goal for all.
    Simon Molloy Vice-Chairman Oldham Boro FC

  7. Michael Maddox on November 2, 2013 at 9:48 am

    We have recently fomed in 2012 from a run down Social club changing room which we try & continue to keep in a reasonably good shape with a bit of money given to us by the club to repaint & scrub up, 2 of the 6 showers are now reduced to a dribble & just about to come to the point of a health risk.
    We have had a meeting with the social club committee & quotes have been submitted to renew shower & boiler system also players & staff will be (skilled tilers) helping to cut the labour cost although this work is essential to to the two teams that run from here one play at home & one plays away the pitch is in pretty good condition & cut regulary but needs a more regular cut with a sit on mower which we have but has mechanical failure & needs attention, something else on the list that need attention while running a team & trying to get a balance with personal life, work & football.
    The social club recently aquired a running club & a youth team to run from the same Social club but are not happy with the current state of facilities.
    The works department at Perkins Engines in Stafford have a sports & health in work place incentive & is given a little money to tie things over but no where near enough for people like me, that can see a real potential in helping alot of people not just the works but local & surrounding areas, in my time growing up in the area i have seen some glorious working men clubs gone to the wall because funding & closures have not been there & its a real shame.
    And when i see children wanting to play football not because they want to be a football player, its to be part of it & for the love of the game.
    We have a pitch which has seen 50 years of football & has been passed on to soneone else who cares to keep things going & it saddens me to come away from a meeting to say they have lost the bowling green at the club because the money is not there.

  8. Dove Holes FC on November 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Fantastic news for all grassroots clubs but how do we actually apply for any help towards funding?

  9. FRED SMITH on November 28, 2013 at 11:52 am


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