Grassroots sport in Nuneaton and Bedworth received a significant boost today following the opening of a full size floodlit third generation (3G) pitch, funded by the Football Foundation.
The new facility enables The Nuneaton Academy and the local football community to further develop grassroots football in that part of the Midlands.
The facility has taken three years to build and will further support the development of both local junior and senior football. The facility will be used by the local leagues and residents and will also support improved health and well-being by increasing physical activity levels.
David Bernstein, Chairman of The FA, did the honours by officially opening the 3G pitch at The Nuneaton Academy, Staffordshire, on Saturday (1 Sept).
Nuneaton & Bedworth Leisure Trust (NBLT) and The Nuneaton Academy worked in partnership with the Birmingham FA to secure a £244,748 grant from the Football Foundation.
Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation 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.
The FA’s Chairman, David Bernstein, said on the day: “It’s absolutely wonderful to be here to see such a fantastic facility and see so many young people and parents enjoying it.
“We are looking in this county to change grassroots football to be much more skills-based, much less based on physicality. In a way we want to focus on much of the developments that the continental countries have done – one looks at Spain to see what happens there.
“You can’t really play quality football unless you have quality pitches and facilities to play on, so this type of facility should encourage the coaches, should encourage the youngsters. We all hope to move along with the strategy we are developing for the National Game here which is key. You can’t really expect to play really good football unless you have facilities to play it on.
“I have the privilege as Chairman of The FA to be involved with the both professional game and the national grassroots game and I must say I get a huge satisfaction from coming to places like Nuneaton today seeing what the fantastic volunteers and the amount of effort put in by people.
“We have 4,000 volunteers in grassroots football in this county. I am always incredibly impressed and touched by the efforts and the enthusiasm that these people show, so it’s win-win – and having facilities like this, supported with large investment, about quarter of a million pounds from the Football Foundation coming into this, it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Jon Russell, NBLT Chief Executive, said: “It’s been a long journey to get to the final stages of this project and it is great to see the culmination of so much hard work.
“This is an amazing facility which will be enjoyed by countless numbers of football players, spectators and the community in the months and years to come.”
Marion Plant OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, the sponsors of The Nuneaton Academy, said: “It is fantastic to see the completed pitch here at The Radnor Drive site. We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed to the success of this project.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Not only will the Nuneaton community benefit from a state-of-the-art, quality pitch on which to play football and other sports, they will also benefit from the health and social benefits that accompany this.
“Nuneaton & Bedworth Leisure Trust, The Nuneaton Academy and the Birmingham FA have invested a significant amount of time and effort to bring this project to fruition and deserve great credit for producing this tremendous facility.
“This project, and each of the 8,000 others we have funded across the country to date, would not have been possible without the essential support of our funding partners the Premier League, The FA and the Government.”
For more information about the work the Football Foundation visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FootballFoundtn.
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