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Rt Hon. David Evennett MP joins former Premier League footballer Scott Minto to open new football hub​

Rt Hon. David Evennett MP joins former Premier League footballer Scott Minto to open new football hub​

Date published: 10/07/2017
Rt Hon. David Evennett MP joins former Premier League footballer Scott Minto to open new football hub
The MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, Rt Hon. David Evennett, was joined by former footballer Scott Minto and local Mayor Cllr. Peter Reader to unveil the brand new all-weather pitch.

The Rt Hon. David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Lord Commissioner for HM Treasury, and former Premier League footballer, Scott Minto, officially opened the London Borough of Bexley’s and Danson Sports FC’s new all-weather pitch in Bexley today (Friday 7 July 2017). They were joined by Life President of Danson Sports FC, Steve Rayner; the Mayor of Bexley, Cllr. Peter Reader and Cllr. Peter Craske.

The opening marked a return to the Mayplace Playing Fields for the Rt Hon. David Evennett MP, who presented a cheque when funding was awarded originally, in July 2016. This project was made possible by a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. Scott Minto was on hand to sign autographs for budding young footballers, as well as field questions in a Q&A session with local primary school children.  

The new pitch, which replaces a rundown facility first opened in 1995, now includes a floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) and a spectator viewing area, both of which will be used by local grassroots club Danson Sports FC for training and matches. The site will also be made available to local primary schools, other amateur teams and community groups. 

Danson Sports worked alongside the London FA and the 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. 

The improvement of the pitch is expected to raise overall sports participation in the area by 205%. This includes a 413% increase in the number of football players using the site over the age of 26, as well as a 336% rise in those between the ages of 14-25. There is also an aspiration to create a walking football team. 

For example, supporting female participation is especially important for the club, and the new site will help to deliver a 500% increase amongst this demographic with five new girls’ teams. This is part of the club's plans to raise the overall number of teams from 36 to 54. Danson are particularly keen to offer opportunities to those groups traditionally underrepresented in the sport. 

The club worked in partnership with the London FA to secure a £459,486 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which was supported by the London Borough of Bexley. This was supplemented by a £20,000 grant from the London Marathon Charitable Trust, with Danson Sports FC also raising £35,000 to ensure the project came to fruition. 

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 develops new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth more than £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game. 

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 348 grants worth £27.4m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £66.6m across the whole of London

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. 

Rt Hon. David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Lord Commissioner for HM Treasury, said: “This new pitch has created a top quality home for Danson Sports FC. Facilities such as these are real assets and help various members of the community benefit from grassroots sport, both socially and physically. 

“I’d like to thank the club for inviting me to be here today to see the new pitch in action. This would not have been possible without the grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund – so a big well done for everyone connected to this pitch for bringing it to fruition.” 

Scott Minto, who played for Charlton Athletic FC, Chelsea FC and West Ham United FC, said: “I know from experience how important good facilities are to grassroots football and I’m delighted to see this new pitch already in use. I’d like to thank Danson Sports FC for inviting me to be here today.

“Grassroots players deserve top-quality surfaces to hone their skills and this pitch is an excellent example of the work done by the Football Foundation, which delivers projects like this all over the country, thanks to money from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.”

Cllr. Craske, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure, London Borough of Bexley, said: “This new pitch has created a top quality home for Danson Sports FC. Facilities such as these are real assets to our borough and help various members of the community benefit from grassroots sport, both socially and physically. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in making this happen.”

Steve Wicks, Chairman, Danson Sports FC, said: “Getting the new all-weather pitch was a massive achievement for our club. We are extremely grateful for the support shown by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, and the London FA, since we started working on the grant bid in 2014. 

“As well as being fantastic for hosting activities, the new playing surface gives us the perfect platform to develop participation opportunities for others in the community who may not currently have access to suitable recreational football. We are particularly looking forward to developing opportunities for more girls and women, people with disabilities and older people.” 

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 Danson Sports FC to upgrade to a floodlit all-weather pitch. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area. A special thanks must go to the Rt. Hon David Evennett MP for returning to officially open the facility and also to Scott Minto. 

“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 Bexley 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.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact:
- Niall Malone at  niall.malone@footballfoundation.org.uk or on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4275


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“Grassroots players deserve top-quality surfaces to hone their skills and this pitch is an excellent example of the work done by the Football Foundation, which delivers projects like this all over the country, thanks to money from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.”

Scott Minto, former Premier League footballer

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