Premier League brothers Craig and Gary Gardner, who play for Sunderland AFC and Aston Villa FC respectively, attended the opening of a much anticipated community sporting project at Meadow Park Football Club, Worcestershire.
The new sports pavilion will enable Meadow Park FC to continue to provide a safe and healthy environment for the youngsters and adults of Bromsgrove and the surrounding areas to play regular football. The state-of-the-art facility includes four changing rooms, two officials changing rooms, a kitchen, and a small clubhouse.
Craig Gardner, Sunderland midfielder, said: “The facilities here at Meadow Park are a different class. You can come here have a game and get dirty. It’s great for the community. You need this sort of football and, not only do you need to work hard, you need to be able to enjoy your football.”
The club recently expressed their ‘pride’ and ‘delight’ after securing a long term lease on the site at L.G. Harris that will protect the future of sport in the area for at least the next two decades.
Meadow Park FC currently has around 250 playing members, raging from Under-8 level right through to adult teams. The new facilities will allow the club to concentrate on expanding and diversifying their teams by continuing to meet the growing demand for girls’ and women’s football in the area as well as introducing disability teams to the club.
The facility was made possible thanks to a range of funding sources:
The club worked in partnership with the Worcestershire FA to secure a £153,529 grant from the Football Foundation – a sports charity funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England).
An additional grant of £84,000 came from The FA, as part of their capital allocation within the Whole Sport Plan funding agreement with Sport England.
Bromsgrove Council contributed a further £50,000.
And the club’s Voluntary Fundraising Committee led by Sarah Stanhope raised £73,000 towards the project. The club has paid tribute to their efforts and hopes that every child, parent and supporter that has contributed and fundraised towards this project will take immense pride in their achievement.
Paul Hutchins, Chairman at Meadow Park FC, said: “I think it is absolutely brilliant that the Football Foundation, local authority and community have contributed such a huge amount of money and effort towards the £360,000 total cost of the project. It is fantastic that together we have recognised the major importance of protecting these sporting grounds and knowing that with their help we can provide these types of facilities, not only for the short term, but for generations to come.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted to see this tremendous new facility complete and ready for use by the local community. The dedication and hard work of Meadow Park FC and the Worcestershire FA over a number of years has resulted inthe successful completion of this project.
“None of this would be possible without the crucial cash provided by our funding partners the Premier League, The FA and the Government.”
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