Date published: 16/11/2015
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch presenting a £519,797 cheque to The Victory Academy with David McDermott, Chief Operating Officer of the Football Foundation and pupils at the school.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch MP was in Medway, Kent recently (Friday 13 November 2015), presenting a £519,797 cheque to The Victory Academy. The funding from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, will go towards a new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP).
Ms Crouch is both the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, as well as the local Member of Parliament for Chatham and Aylesford. She presented the cheque to staff and students at the school, who are anticipating works on the new pitch to start before the end of the year. Representatives from the senior leadership team, as well as members of the Football Academy programme at the school, spoke with the Minister about the impact the facility will have on grassroots football in the area.
There is currently a shortage of available floodlit facilities in Medway, coupled with an increase in the numbers of youth teams playing within the area. The new state-of-the-art playing surface will greatly benefit the school, which will use it for rugby and a range of other sports in addition to football during PE lessons. It will also be used extensively by the local community.
The Football Foundation, in partnership with The Victory Academy and Kent FA, produced a five-year Football Development Plan, to set out full usage targets and ensure participation at the new facility is maximised. This highlights a growth of 12 new teams across all three local partner football clubs: Gillingham FC SENtaurs, Chatham Town FC and Omega 92 FC. Women and girls’ football in the area will benefit further as Gillingham FC Girls Centre of Excellence will also operate from the site.
This growth, alongside the retention of existing teams, contributes to the participation targets of the Kent County FA. All of the partner clubs will back fill the Under-7 age group, ensuring continual team generation, and over the life of the development plan there is a predicted growth of three female teams.
The Plan also projects that the funding will enable 90 students to attain the FA Level 2 Leadership through Football qualification. Alongside this, 90 students have been identified to attain their Basic Match official’s course over the life of the plan.
The Victory Academy worked in partnership with the Kent FA to secure the £519,797 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
As local MP for Chatham and Aylesford, Tracey Crouch has visited the school numerous times and attended The Victory Academy’s official launch in September to mark its new name.
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 £540m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £777m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 336 grants worth £15m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £30m across the whole of Kent.
Tracey Crouch MP said: "Our football stars of the future develop their skills on community pitches and having good facilities is vital to help encourage participation. It's great that The Academy will benefit from a new 3G pitch with funding from the Government's partnership with the Premier League, The FA and Football Foundation. Investment in the grassroots is crucial, and the new facility will mean both pupils and the wider community will be able to use it all-year round."
Mandy Gage, Principal, The Victory Academy, said: “We were absolutely delighted to have Tracey Crouch MP present a £519,797 cheque to go towards our new pitch. The investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund will greatly enhance the facilities for our students and also for local grassroots clubs and community groups.
“The pitch will enable many young people in Medway to further develop their sporting skills, as well as encouraging students to get involved in sports in and out of school. We are very much looking forward to seeing the completed pitch.”
David McDermott, Chief Operating Officer at the Football Foundation, said: “This new playing surface will make a huge difference the school’s own sports provision, as well as open up access to sport for the wider community.
“Once developed, this new floodlit all-weather facility will greatly increase the weekly hours of football and other sports that can take place at the site. However, this is not just about funding and then walking away. The Football Foundation’s ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the site’s performance against both the Development Plan we have designed with local partners, and the Business Plan, will ensure that the facility remains sustainable while delivering maximum impact in terms of sporting outcomes, and that value-for-money is achieved from this funding.
“We are delighted that Sports Minister and local MP, Tracey Crouch, has lent her support and presented the cheque towards this project. I would like to thank all of our Funding Partners – the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England – for their generous and vital contributions that are enabling us to help transform the landscape of sport and significantly increase participation right across the country.”
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