Date published: 22/03/2016
Former Bolton Wanderers FC star, John McGinlay, was at St John’s Park, the home of Ladybridge FC, recently (Friday 18 March 2016), to officially unveil the club’s new £91,146 floodlights and maintenance equipment. The improvements were made possible thanks to a £56,276 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
Ladybridge FC, who have 22 teams from Under-5 to senior sides, can now train and play matches throughout the evenings and winter months. The new lights will also benefit the University of Bolton, Bolton Sixth Form College and various other local grassroots clubs. Bolton Wanderers Community Trust will also deliver soccer camps on site in the summer.
The Football Foundation worked in partnership with Ladybridge FC and Lancashire County FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan as a result of this funding, which predicts a growth in participation on site. The plan forecasts an increase in the number of teams the club have from 28-50 over five years. There is also an emphasis on female provision, with a plan to form an adult female, open age, team through one of the Under-18 teams.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 14,000 grants worth more than £546m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £773m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 438 grants worth £19.5m towards grassroots sports projects worth almost £46.5m across the whole of Lancashire.
By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game.
Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.
Steve Hill, Chairman of Ladybridge FC, said: “This investment in quality floodlighting is yet another milestone in the club's history and one that will benefit the club's many members and visiting teams. It is a culmination of all the hard work put into grass roots football at Ladybridge FC and we are so grateful for the financial support provided by the Football Foundation.”
John McGinlay, former Bolton Wanderers FC striker, said: “The new floodlights will make a real difference to the club, who can now carry on running training sessions and matches throughout the evenings and winter months.
“The club have worked hard with Lancashire County FA, and the Football Foundation, and thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, the improvements have become a reality. I look forward to seeing the club go from strength to strength as a result of this funding.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Ladybridge FC to upgrade their floodlights. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area. I would like to thank John McGinlay for formally opening the new lights.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.
“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This latest project in Bolton is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love if it and to stay healthy.”
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