Grassroots sport in Bolton has received a significant boost following the news that Old Boltonians AFC has received a grant of £58,610 from the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.
The funding will allow Old Boltonians to build new changing rooms at their pitches at Chapeltown, believed to be one of the oldest football grounds in the world that is still in use.
The grant will enable the ‘temporary’ changing rooms – that have actually been in place since 1958 – to be replaced by modern facilities. This will ensure the club’s four Lancashire Amateur League sides and newly formed veterans’ team can continue playing at their historic ground as the club looks ahead to its centenary in 2020. It will also enable the club to open its facilities to local schools through the work of Bolton School (a focus school for the Independent Schools’ FA) and provide a venue for teams from the University of Bolton.
The new sports pavilion will comprise of: four modern changing rooms with showers and toilets, rooms for officials and disabled facilities. There will also be a club room which will provide an area for spectators and refreshments, but will also be utilised as a teaching space for coaching activities involving pupils and teachers from local schools.
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.
Richard Morris, Chairman of Old Boltonians AFC, said: “As long as most of us involved with the club can remember, we had a dream of having changing rooms which would match the history of the ground and the quality of its pitches. It was always been just beyond us financially.
“With a determined effort from the club and generous donations from friends and sponsors, we have raised a substantial amount of money ourselves, but without the massive boost we have received from the Football Foundation it would have been impossible for us to make the dream a reality.
“It’s a fantastic recognition of what we are all about as an amateur club; providing great facilities and through them the opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to play football purely for the love of the game.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I commend Old Boltonians and the Lancashire FA for working tirelessly to secure this funding and I look forward to seeing the end result in the near future.
“This year is an exciting time for sport in this country and a tremendous opportunity to create a grassroots legacy. The hosting of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will inspire generations of people up and down the country to reap the rewards that sport has to offer. The Football Foundation is dedicated, with funding provided from the Premier League, The FA and government, to raising the standard of grassroots community sports facilities and to getting more people actively playing the national sport.”
For more information about the work the Football Foundation is doing in Lancashire and all over the country visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FootballFoundtn.
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