Date published: 24/05/2015
Yesterday, Nigel Adkins, who won two promotions during his time as Southampton FC Manager, was at Robert May’s School’s 3G pitch, which was delivered by the Football Foundation, where he joined in a football training session and signed autographs for pupils. His visit forms part of the Foundation’s 15-year Anniversary celebrations and was his first in his capacity as a Football Foundation Ambassador.
In 2010, after working in conjunction with the Hampshire FA, Robert May’s School received a £180,488 grant from the Football Foundation’s Funding Partners – the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England – to develop a 88m x 61m, floodlit, third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) for school and community use.
Robert May’s School use the pitch extensively to deliver both multi-sport Physical Education lessons and extra-curricular activities for their 1,200 pupils. The facility is used by 1,069 grassroots footballers every single week, including those from local grassroots clubs, community groups and small-sided leagues.
Arsenal Soccer Schools also provide football coaching sessions for boys and girls aged between 8-14 twice a week during term-time and weekends as they try to improve player’s technical skills. These courses can provide a route into the Arsenal FC Academy.
Nigel said: “The Football Foundation has been committed to improving our nation’s grassroots football facilities for the last 15 years and I am very proud to have become one of their Ambassadors today.
“The 3G pitch at Robert May’s School is an excellent example of the hundreds of grassroots facilities that the Football Foundation has delivered across the country. I am delighted to see that, after five years of use, this pitch is still being heavily used every day of the year by both pupils and members of the local community.
“Throughout my career as a player, physiotherapist and manager, including a decade in charge of Birkenhead Sunday League team Renbad Rovers FC, I have seen first-hand how important a healthy grassroots game is to the professional level. At Southampton FC I managed some of the best young players in the country and they all started out at the grassroots. If we are going to produce better players for the professional game we need better grassroots facilities; we are making huge strides in this area thanks to the Football Foundation.
“However, it’s important to remember that this pitch, and the many others like it across the country, have only been made possible thanks to money that has come from the very top of the game. The Premier League, The FA and the Government through Sport England are the ones who have provided the capital, while the Football Foundation has expertly delivered this facility, along with help from the Hampshire FA and The FA's Regional Facilities Investment Manager. The Football Foundation also monitors the facility to make sure it is being used to it’s maximum potential.”
Founded in 2000 the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England. It funds the development of new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level.
Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 13,000 grants worth more than £520m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £736m – over £1.24bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added: “Nigel Adkins has managed and coached football teams at the very highest level of the game and is a highly-respected figure within football. He is also very passionate and knowledgeable about the grassroots game; therefore, I am delighted that he has agreed to join us as an Ambassador. His support will be of huge benefit to us, as we continue to build on our achievements over the last 15 years in delivering better community sports facilities across the country.
“A healthy grassroots game is essential for the health of the game at every level. The Football Foundation expertly targets investment from our Funding Partners – the Premier League, The FA and the Government through Sport England – into areas where it will have the biggest impact in terms of participation increases and improving community health, as well as other economic and community benefits.
“Last year alone, for example, we recorded that 700,206 people played sport across all the facilities that we have delivered, with 23,558 coaching qualifications gained in the process. There is much more still to be done though and we will continue to work hard and smart to make ensure that the generous investment provided by our Funding Partners achieves maximum impact.”