We have a total of 21 teams at De La Salle
Sports and Social Club as well as a development
group, which consists of our Under-6s.The four
and five year olds in the development group are,
more often than not, sisters and brothers of club
members already playing in one of our teams.We
run fun sessions for them, as well as futsal and little
training sessions.
Prior to receiving funding from the Foundation,
we had access to changing rooms, but they were
getting a bit old and tired, having been in use for
about 30 years.The facilities were very old-
fashioned and not the nicest place to be, although
we did our best to keep them as well-maintained
as possible, but some areas had asbestos so we
couldn’t use them.
At the beginning of the whole process of applying
for funding, we had a number of interviews and
meetings with Phil Heap and Eamonn Farrell at The
FA; they were extremely helpful at the start of the
project over issues like costings.
The application itself was fairly straightforward. A
company called Logiseek did a lot of the general,
back-office stuff, whereas we had to make sure we
had things like the lease in place.
We received a £498,140 grant from the
Foundation towards the project, which cost
£685,140 overall. Comparing the facility now to
how it looked before – there’s been a massive
change. It’s chalk and cheese! We now have a
beautiful pavilion, which offers far more than just
an area to get changed.
We now have state-of-the-art facilities for both
children and adults, including facilities for referees,
a first aid room and a physio room, showers and
changing rooms.
Local football has benefitted greatly from the new
facility.We are located in one of the most deprived
wards in Greater Manchester.The investment
has had a regenerative effect for the area, over
and above the obvious benefits that our sports
and social club enjoy each week. It is a lot nicer
aesthetically and gives the children a facility that
they can be proud of, which is important.
As well as football, other sports clubs also utilise
the pavilion: rugby league and union teams, junior
and ladies’ netball clubs, a crown green bowling
team, a rounders team, whilst a local archery club
use the facilities and fields in the summer.
Beyond the obvious sport perspective, the
improved changing pavilion has benefited the
local community.The British Heart Foundation use
the function room for their Heart-Start first aid
training sessions; one of the local councillors holds
their monthly surgery for local residents at the site;
and a JobStart club also utilise the facilities.We’ve
also had art clubs, maths clubs and a local lady, who
is a drugs counsellor, using the building to offer an
open forum for people who need support.We’ve
got a wide range of people accessing the facility
for various reasons in addition to the football and
sport that take place.The site has become a real
hub for the community.
We are renowned for local football and rugby,
which helps to support the community’s health
and wellbeing.With 156 junior members playing
regular sport, we’re doing okay! We have also been
able to support a number of players with varying
disabilities which we were unable to before. As
a sports and social club we have always had a
commitment to disability sport.We run summer
camps that involve football-for-all for people with
disabilities, as well as our able-bodied players.
Our experience in delivering this facility project
has also encouraged other clubs in the area to
look into funding opportunities available, including
Foundation support. I have been advising three
local clubs that have been inspired by our positive
experience with enhancing the sports site at De
La Salle.
Our new facility is an inspiring place for players
and coaches of all ages, male and female. It really
has made a massive difference. More local people
want to play and get involved in football and they
enjoy it more as well.Whether it is our Under-6s
or our ‘open-age’ team, they all love coming to
the club’s new facility, to train, play and socialise
afterwards. From De La Salle’s experience, the
money from the Foundation’s funding partners has
definitely had a massive impact on the grassroots
game here.
Our youngest coach, Joe Duckett, is only just 16
but has already passed his FA Level 1 coaching
qualification. He has been taken on by Burnley
Football Club to help coach their youngsters. Joe
was the youngest one to go through The FA’s
coaching qualification in the Manchester area –
maybe even the UK – as he took his coaching
badge within days of being old enough to! We are
very proud of him.
Without a doubt, this investment is massive
in terms of supporting the development of
clubs, players, coaches and officials in the area.
When I used to play we were lucky if we got a
prefabricated building, and even then they were
usually falling to pieces.You would get changed
before you went to your match and you wouldn’t
want to use the showers so you would go
home muddy.
The difference Foundation funding makes to the
grassroots game is huge.
John McLellan-Grant was speaking
to ONSIDE Editor, Rory Carroll
ON TARGET
New changing rooms
for sports and social club
John McLellan-Grant, Chairman of De La Salle
Sports and Social Club in Manchester, describes
the impact that their Foundation-funded changing
rooms has had on the area.
24
ONSIDE
| The Football Foundation Magazine | Issue 32
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