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Football Foundation
Former Bantam Jacobs opens cracker of a new facility

Former Bantam Jacobs opens cracker of a new facility

Date published: 30/11/2017
 Former Bantam Jacobs opens cracker of a new facility

Wayne Jacobs, former Bradford City FC defender and current Chair of Active Bradford, officially opened the University of Bradford’s upgraded community sports hub yesterday (Wednesday 29 November). 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 grant enabled the University to replace their existing sand-dressed artificial grass pitch (AGP), which had severe drainage issues and was in poor condition. This has been refurbished to provide a state-of-the-art third generation (3G) AGP. 

The new playing surface can be used all-year-round, even in bad weather, and will benefit the University and its other users, including Phoenix JFC, Athletico FC, West Horton FC and Dixons Trinity Academy. The West Riding FA will also use the 3G AGP to deliver coaching qualifications. 

The funding has also helped the University to upgrade its existing sports pavilion. The facility now comprises: two team changing rooms; two officials’ changing rooms; a fitness suite; a reception and office area; a first aid room and accessible toilets. The pavilion and new pitch are available to the wider community, as are the sports hub’s four tennis courts. 

The University of Bradford worked alongside the West Riding 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. 

It is expected that, thanks to the upgrade project, the number of teams using the site will rise from 44 to 71. This supports an expected 87% increase in overall sport participation across all age groups. 

Additionally, thanks to plans for the West Riding County Amateur League and Bradford Sunday Alliance League to move fixtures to the new 3G AGP, a 99% increase in football participation for those over the age of 26 is predicted. 

The club worked in partnership with the West Riding FA to secure a £500,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. 

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 529 grants worth £19.8m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £39.3m across the whole of West Riding

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. 

Wayne Jacobs, who is also the co-founder and CEO of the One In A Million charity, said: “It’s so important for our community to have access to state-of-the-art sports facilities like this one. Through my work with Active Bradford, as well as my football career, I know first-hand the difference that grassroots sport can make to people’s lives, and I’d like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their investment and support of the University throughout this project.” 

Chris Spargo, Head of Commercial Services at University of Bradford, said: “The significant enhancement of the University’s sport facilities has been a key strategic objective for the University for some time. The support provided by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund in terms of finance and professional advice, has enabled the University deliver its objective of high quality state of the art facilities for its students, its staff and the local football community. The facility is now being used by a variety of local clubs for training and match play, for coaching courses and a wide variety of University sports clubs – the feedback to date has been exceptional.” 

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides the investment necessary to improve grassroots football facilities. So, I am delighted to see the University of Bradford join thousands of local clubs and organisations who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of their improved sports hub. My thanks go to Wayne Jacobs for officially unveiling it.   

“Having delivered over £1.4bn of grassroots sports infrastructure projects, the Football Foundation has developed a network of accessible, first-class facilities in areas they will have the greatest impact – thanks to money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England. 

“These facilities are more than places to play football at, these facilities are hubs of physical activity, the bedrock of local communities and ‘homes from home’ for so many who also use them as social outlets to learn new skills, gain work experience and other qualifications.” 


For more information, please contact:
- Chris Spargo on 01274 236 276 or c.spargo@bradford.ac.uk 
- Sophie Huby on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292 or at sophie.huby@footballfoundation.org.uk


"It’s so important for our community to have access to state-of-the-art sports facilities like this one."- Wayne Jacobs, former Bradford City FC defender and current Chair of Active Bradford