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Kate Hollern MP impressed by new football facility in Blackburn

Kate Hollern MP impressed by new football facility in Blackburn

Date published: 04/09/2018
Kate Hollern MP impressed by new football facility in Blackburn
Kate Hollern MP officially opens the refurbished changing pavilion at Woolridge Playing Fields.

Kate Hollern, MP for Blackburn, officially opened a refurbished changing pavilion at Woolridge Playing Fields in Blackburn recently (Sunday 2 September). The new hub was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant has enabled Blackburn with Darwen Council and the East Lancashire Football Development Association (ELFDA) to consolidate the football facilities at Pleckgate Road, creating a multi-pitch hub for improved financial sustainability.

Project works at the site included the refurbishment of the existing changing pavilion, which has helped to create new changing rooms for both players and officials, first aid room, kitchen facilities and office space. In addition to this, a new maintenance store was installed. All the facilities will service six high quality football pitches, recently created on unused land directly opposite the pavilion.

The improved site will be used by the East Lancashire Alliance League as a junior football hub. In addition to this, AHF FC, the Blackburn Sunday League and Blackburn Combination League will all benefit from the refurbishment. On top of this, Blackburn Rovers Ladies will host their Youth Academy games and reserve team matches at Woolridge Playing Fields.

Blackburn with Darwen Council and the ELFDA were awarded a £98,791 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The organisations worked alongside the Football Foundation and Lancashire County FA 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 the upgraded changing pavilion will support a 116% increase in overall participation at the site during the next five years. Of this, significant growth in the number of females using the facilities is expected, taking the number of participants within this demographic to over 1,000 during the five years.

The number of adults playing football will also be boosted by the improved facilities. New Under-21, open age, veteran and disability teams will help to introduce 552 players within this demographic, with the most notable growth predicted in the veteran category.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 493 grants worth £13.8m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £32.2m across the whole of Lancashire.

Kate Hollern, MP for Blackburn, said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to officially open the refurbished changing pavilion at Woolridge Playing Fields. Any initiative that helps to encourage more people to get active should be applauded and I hope that the people of Blackburn will enjoy using the upgraded facilities.

“I know how important grassroots football is, not just here in Blackburn, but across the country. There is no doubt that many community sporting organisations in the local area will benefit from this investment and it is brilliant to see this funding injection from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund into my constituency.”

Craig Wilkinson, Secretary of the East Lancashire Football Development Association, said: “We appreciate our local MP, Kate Hollern, coming along to officially open our new facilities. Back in 2012 a process started of trust building between local leagues and the Council, motivated by the need to keep grassroots pitches in the town. A playing pitch strategy was published by Blackburn Council in 2014 which suggested that Blackburn and Darwen were increasing the numbers of players rather than a reduction. The reason being that there are a number of people passionate about the game. If we have good surfaces to play on, standards can only improve.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am delighted that Blackburn with Darwen Council and the East Lancashire Football Development Association has now opened their refurbished changing pavilion in Blackburn, thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

“Continuing to improve access to high-quality facilities like this one is a key aim for the Premier League, The FA and the Government. Delivered by the Football Foundation, their funding supports projects for clubs and organisations all over the country and is helping to boost the number of people benefiting from sport through better facilities.

“Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities.”

ENDS

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There is no doubt that many community sporting organisations in the local area will benefit from this investment and it is brilliant to see this funding injection from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund into my constituency.” - Katie Hollern, MP for Blackburn

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