Date published: 11/09/2014
Edward Timpson MP officially opened a new state-of-the-art £637,767 refurbished pavilion in Whetstone, Leicester, yesterday thanks to a £340,767 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. A further £100,000 grant was given by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF).
Keith Murdoch, Chief Executive Officer of the Leicestershire & Rutland County FA, and Baroness Byford were also in attendance. The project has delivered a modern facility which will allow Blaby and Whetstone Boys Club to support the growth of female and disabled sport within the area, in addition to consolidating its current number of 22 teams from Under-7s to senior teams. There is expected to be a 200% increase in football participation amongst 16-17 year-olds over the next five years at the club, as a result of the investment
The new facility comprises: four new changing rooms, two officials’ changing rooms, a hospitality room, a treatment room, spectator toilets and a refurbished community space. The facilities will be used in the daytime by Brookside Court – a day centre for people with learning disabilities. Additionally, the ‘Active Sport’ programme which the club delivers, introduces other sports and activities to the community, using the new facility as a base.
The club worked in partnership with the Leicestershire & Rutland County FA to secure a £339,267 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation funding partners’ investment has provided 142 grants worth £13.5m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £25.3m across the whole of Leicestershire.
Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England, the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 13,000 grants worth more than £500m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £700m – over £1bn of investment into the grassroots game.
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.
Funded by the Premier League, with an annual budget of £6m, the Football Stadia Improvement Fund awards grants to clubs from the Football League down to the lower levels of the National League System to improve safety at their stadia and to enable them to satisfy The FA’s ground grading requirements.
Edward Timpson MP, Children and Families Minister, said: “It was a privilege to attend the opening of this impressive facility at Blaby and Whetstone Youth Club. Getting children active and involved in sport does not just have health benefits, it also helps to teach confidence, teamwork and the satisfaction of achieving a goal. Investing in grassroots sport is a vital part of creating the opportunities for them to learn those lessons.
“I want to congratulate everyone involved in this project for their hard work and thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, and the Football Stadia improvement fund for their considerable investment.”
Brian Cleaver, Chairman at Blaby & Whetstone Youth Club Ltd, said: “We would like to thank Edward Timpson MP, Baroness Byford and Keith Murdoch for officially opening the newly refurbished facility. Without the support of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund the refurbishment would not have been possible. By providing modern facilities within a family environment we will encourage more young people to participate in grassroots sport and adopt a healthy lifestyle. We could not have been given a more rewarding way to celebrate 50 years of providing sport and activities for young people from our home in Whetstone.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added: “The Football Foundation is responsible for managing and delivering the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, via Sport England. This pavilion is an example of the positive impact that this funding is having on our grassroots game. First-class facilities like this are crucial to creating more opportunities for local people to enjoy regular sport and I would like to thank Edward Timpson MP for taking the time to open Blaby and Whetstone’s new facility.
“Aided by the Leicestershire & Rutland County FA, Blaby and Whetstone Youth Club deserve huge credit for taking a vision and turning it into a reality, using funding provided by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. Sport has the power to make a positive impact on the health of communities and this wonderful new facility will improve the sporting experience of local people and encourage them to be more active.”
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