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Local MP delighted as Plymouth Argyle FC's Gary Sawyer unveils new sports pavilion

Local MP delighted as Plymouth Argyle FC’s Gary Sawyer unveils new sports pavilion

Date published: 19/04/2018
Local MP delighted as Plymouth Argyle FC’s Gary Sawyer unveils new sports pavilion

Plymouth Argyle FC defender Gary Sawyer officially opened a state-of-the-art new sports pavilion for Holsworthy Town Council recently (Sunday 15 April). Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, also attended the celebrations. The project has been made possible by a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant has enabled Holsworthy Town Council to upgrade and refurbish the existing pavilion building at Stanhope Park, which was over 100-years-old and in a poor state of repair. The upgrade project means that the Council can now provide a modern community sports hub building, benefiting partner club Holsworthy Youth FC and other users including Holsworthy Walk and Talk.

The club is working with Holsworthy Cricket Club to manage the facility, as the Holsworthy Area Sports Pavilion Group, and are delighted with the improved facility. The sports hub building now comprises: two changing rooms; two officials’ rooms; a kitchen; a community space and accessible toilets.

The Council and its partner club hope that the new facility will support Plymouth Argyle FC in delivering their community programme. Holsworthy Youth FC already has strong links with the professional club, but Plymouth Argyle FC have previously struggled to deliver community sessions due to a lack of local facilities. The Devon FA will also use the pavilion to support a range of courses and activities they plan to deliver on-site.

Holsworthy Town Council were awarded a £99,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. They also received £75,000 from Sport England in support of the upgrades.

The Council and Holsworthy Youth FC worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Devon 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.

The upgraded sports pavilion is set to enable Holsworthy Youth FC to expand into different age groups and improve its female football provision. The club already has 122 members, supported by 11 FA-qualified coaches and a number of volunteers. They now hope to attract more players, and an increase of 141% in overall football participation is expected as a result.

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 over 17,000 grants worth more than £615m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of £817m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 222 grants worth £10.3m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £19.5m across the whole of Devon.

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.

Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, said: “I congratulate Holsworthy Town Council and Holsworthy Youth FC for their hard work and effort throughout this project. The improvements made to their facility means that they now have a comfortable, modern sports pavilion which is bound to encourage more community members to get involved in the activities available here. 

“Grassroots football provides a great social and physical outlet for a huge range of people. I’m pleased that, thanks to the investment of the Premier League, the FA and the Government through Sport England, my constituents in Holsworthy now have access to this excellent facility and, as a result, the opportunities that are available through grassroots sport.”

Gary Sawyer, Plymouth Argyle FC defender, said: “This new pavilion will be really great for Holsworthy Youth FC, because it will support their growth for years to come. I’d like to thank the club and Holsworthy Town Council for inviting me to help unveil it. It’s important for clubs to have facilities like this, providing better comfort for its members and hopefully encouraging new people to get involved. Inspiring new players and volunteers is vital to grassroots football, something I’m sure this facility will help Holsworthy to do.”

Adam Chidley, Holsworthy Youth FC Chairman, said: “For almost 30 years, Stanhope Park has hosted grassroots football without any meaningful facilities. Thanks to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund we will now be able offer match-day facilities for all our players, coaches and officials and guests from opposition clubs, host community football events to help increase participation and help other local sporting organisations utilising Stanhope Park by giving them the opportunity to use the new building.

“We would like to thank Chris French, County Development Officer at Devon FA, who has supported this project from the very early stages and has given guidance throughout, and Gary Sawyer for opening the pavilion. Gary played for many years in North Devon youth football and hopefully his appearance will help to inspire the next generation of young players beginning their journey through grassroots football. We’d also like to thank Geoffrey Cox MP for taking the time to attend our opening.”

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 Holsworthy Town Council and Holsworthy Youth FC has now opened their state-of-the-art sports pavilion in Devon, thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. My thanks go to Gary Sawyer, for performing the official unveiling, and to Geoffrey Cox MP for attending.

"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

For more information, please contact:
- Sophie Huby on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4292 or at sophie.huby@footballfoundation.org.uk
- Vanessa Saunders on 01409 253 312 or townclerk@holsworthytowncouncil.gov.uk


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“This new pavilion will be really great for Holsworthy Youth FC, because it will support their growth for years to come. It’s important for clubs to have facilities like this, providing better comfort for its members and hopefully encouraging new people to get involved. Inspiring new players and volunteers is vital to grassroots football, something I’m sure this facility will help Holsworthy to do.”- Gary Sawyer, Plymouth Argyle FC defender

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