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First ground broken at Nottingham Forest's 'birthplace' with new sports hub set to follow

First ground broken at Nottingham Forest’s ‘birthplace’ with new sports hub set to follow

Date published: 19 November 2014

Press release

Ground breaking ceremony at Forest Sports Zone

Construction works commenced at Forest Recreation Ground, the birthplace of Nottingham Forest FC, recently. The project – which will see a new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP), Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) and changing room pavilion be developed – has been made possible thanks to a £900,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

Also in attendance at the ground-breaking ceremony were Graham Moran, Chief Executive, Nottingham Forest in the Community (NFITC), John Denore of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and Councillor Cat Arnold, Nottingham City Council. Nottingham Forest Academy players Tyler Walker and Ollie Burke were also present on the day.

This large project will involve a dramatic transformation of the Forest Recreation Ground in order to provide a state-of-the-art community football facility for local people. Working closely together, Nottingham City Council and NFITC have now secured all the necessary funding and planning permission to commence works at the site, which will be known as the Forest Sports Zone, once complete.

The site is located in one of the most deprived areas of England and this new facility will strive to be inclusive and accessible to all members of the community, particularly disadvantaged groups and young people who often face barriers to participation.

NFITC will operate the Forest Sports Zone and will deliver the majority of their impressive community programme from the site, using the office space within the new changing room pavilion. NFITC have an excellent track record in football development and operate at the heart of a wide range of community projects.

Additionally, main partner club, Sherwood FC, who currently operate 25 teams, will use the new 3G AGP for both training and matches. The club play in a number of different locations across the city but this new facility will provide a central home for the club. Youth centres, community organisations and nearby schools will also use the facilities.

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 Football 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 £1.2bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 134 grants worth £12.6m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £22.1m across the whole of Nottinghamshire.

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.

Graham Moran, Chief Executive, NFITC, commented: “It’s great to see all the hard work finally pulling through with the commencement of work on site. The new facility will allow Nottingham Forest to have a substantial impact on football development within the city, alongside the local community.Nottingham Forest Football Club was formed on this very site 150 years ago and it will be fantastic to see us back where it all started once the project is completed.”

Cllr Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “The Forest Sports Zone is a hugely important development both for Nottingham as the first Sport England City of Football and for the local community who will be able to make use of these first class local facilities.”

Cllr Cat Arnold, Nottingham City Council, remarked: “The Forest Rec is literally in the heart of our city and most of us here have experienced an enjoyable day out at one of the annual events here such as the Goose Fair or Bonfire Night. We all know how important the Forest is to local people and the park has recently been brought back to its former glory with the £5.2m of improvements completed in 2013.”

John Denore, from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, said:“It was a privilege to attend the ground-breaking ceremony at Forest Recreation Ground. Having lived and worked around Nottingham for some time I know how passionate the people of this city are about football and it’s great to know that the community will have a first-class facility to enjoy and use for many years to come thanks to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund’s investment.

“I’d like to congratulate everyone at Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Forest in the Community, Nottinghamshire FA and Football Foundation for all of their hard work in getting the project to this stage and I look forward to seeing the facility once it’s been completed.”



For more information contact:

 Andrew Napier, Communications and Marketing Officer, Nottingham City Council on 0115 876 5944 or andrew.napier@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Bradley Cleveland on 0845 345 4555 Ext: 4282 or bradley.cleveland@footballfoundation.org.uk

John Denore at Forest Recreation Ground


"Having lived and worked around Nottingham for some time I know how passionate the people of this city are about football and it’s great to know that the community will have a first-class facility to enjoy and use for many years to come."

John Denore

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