Date published: 14/04/2016
Russell Martin, Captain of Norwich Football Club, was at Open Academy, Norwich, recently (Wednesday 13 April 2016), to visit the school’s £688,789 Football Development Centre works which includes a new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) and new changing facilities.
The project has been made possible thanks to a £498,789 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation and provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
Russell, also a Scottish international defender, was taken on a tour of the development to see how works have been progressing. An existing school ‘out building’ has been internally redeveloped with two new team changing rooms, an officials’ changing room constructed along with incorporating some social space, a reception, toilet facilities and storage, with this work almost complete. Works on the new 3G pitch should be completed ready for the summer.
Prior to this investment, sporting facilities were extensively used by the local community and these additional facilities were of strategic need for this area of Norwich.
The Football Development Centre to be known as ‘the FDC @ Open Academy’ will be used by the school 8am-5pm, then by the community in the evening and weekends. The project will support local partner clubs, Sprowston FC, Old Catton Juniors FC, and Wroxham FC who also have an Academy Sixth Form programme based at the school.
Norfolk County FA will be responsible for operating the site during evenings, weekends and school holidays, using the site to deliver many of its initiatives, including Workforce Education and County 5IVES. The new facility will also serve as a base for many Norwich City FC Community Sports Foundation initiatives, who will deliver a variety of their programmes on the 3G AGP, which will include girls’ and boys’ development centres along with the other existing programmes still taking place at the school such as the Premier League 4 Sport initiative.
Open Academy worked in partnership with the Football Foundation and the Norfolk FA to secure a £498,789 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. The Foundation targets investment from the Fund where it is needed most and where it will have the greatest impact. The Fund’s investment is provided by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government/Sport England. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 14,000 grants worth more than £560m towards improving grassroots sport. It has used this to leverage additional partnership funding of over £786m – meaning the Foundation has delivered over £1.3bn of investment into community sport across the country.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 331 grants worth £7.8m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £15.3m across the Norfolk County FA’s region.
Russell Martin said: “It was great to visit the Open Academy in Norwich and see how their new Football Foundation-funded sports facilities are shaping up. The changing rooms are pretty much finished already and look superb.
“When the all-weather surface is complete they are going to have a seriously good set of facilities that will have a massive impact on football and other sports in the area.
“It won’t just be the Academy’s pupils that benefit. Lots of local grassroots football clubs and other community groups will get to use the site. I am also really pleased that this site will now also become a venue for the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation’s superb outreach work.
“I am a big believer in supporting the grassroots. It is important that there are enough opportunities for people to play the game purely for the love of it – and on decent pitches, with decent changing rooms.”
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