Date published: 11/04/2017
MP for Birmingham, Hodge Hill, The Rt Hon. Liam Byrne and Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Carl Rice, officially opened Hodge Hill College’s new floodlit all-weather pitch and upgraded changing pavilion recently (Monday 27 March 2017). The project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The project will enable local grassroots side Sporting FC to house all of its 13 teams at the new state-of-the-art facility, with the Birmingham outfit projected to create 11 new sides as a result. The venue will form a ‘hub’ site for football in the West Midlands, with Bromford Lions FC, who boast 17 teams to their name, also calling the facility home in addition to Hodge Hill College’s 1,200 students.
The all-weather pitch, compatible for 5v5, 7v7 and 11v11 football will be used all-year-round for training and matches, and has been installed with a ‘shock pad’ underneath the playing surface to accommodate multi-sports including rugby and American football.
The works to the changing pavilion meanwhile have included the refurbishment and enlargement of existing team and officials’ changing rooms, with a new 30-space car park also built.
Hodge Hill College worked alongside the Birmingham FA and Football Foundation to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on-site, with an emphasis on increasing participation. As part of the plan, Braidwood Deaf School will deliver weekly football sessions, with the long-term view of creating a deaf football team in partnership with a local grassroots club.
The project was made possible thanks to a £500,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. Hodge Hill College worked in partnership with the Birmingham FA to secure the grant.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. It 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 15,000 grants worth nearly £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of £800m – over £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 430 grants worth nearly £26m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £61m across the whole of Birmingham.
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.
MP for Birmingham, Hodge Hill, The Rt Hon. Liam Byrne, said: “The opening of this new all-weather pitch is fantastic news for Hodge Hill College and the many local community clubs that will use the new facility. Pitches such as these are vital in ensuring everyone is provided with safe, accessible and top-quality facilities to play and enjoy sport, and I’d like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their investment behind the project.”
Jonathan Miller, Strategic Site and Finance Director at Hodge Hill College, said: “The funding provided by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has given the school and local community a fantastic new facility for all to enjoy. This is a great addition to the school which we hope will improve grassroots sport both within the school and also across the local community.”
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 Hodge Hill College to build a new all-weather pitch and upgrade their changing pavilion. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area, and a special thanks must go to The Rt Hon. Liam Byrne MP and Cllr Carl Rice for opening the new facility.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.4bn, 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 Hodge Hill 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 of it and to stay healthy.”
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