Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton North East, has officially unveiled the City of Wolverhampton Council's new £3 million grassroots sports facilities.

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They include new natural grass pitches on a state of the art facility at Barnhurst Lane and a third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Our Lady and St Chad Catholic Academy.

The developments were made possible thanks to £578,000 from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. The project also received £340,000 from the Sport England Improvement Fund.

At Our Lady and St Chad Catholic Academy, the grant has enabled the council to build a new state of the art 3G AGP that will be used all year round by not only the school, but also a number of local community groups.

At Barnhurst Lane, the grant has allowed the Council to develop 2 full size grass pitches, 3 junior size pitches, 6 mini soccer pitches and 1km of pedestrian pathways suitable for walking, cycling and running which incorporate a series of mosaics designed by local artist Steve Field in collaboration with pupils from Aldersley High School. A floodlit car park has also been built onsite.

Through this project, the council has worked in close partnership with the Football Foundation and Birmingham FA to establish a 5 year Football Development Plan (FDP) - a long term vision for how sport will be played at the new facility. The FDP will support the partnership of youth and adult leagues, while also enabling the site to deliver The FA Skills Programme Holiday schemes.

Emma Reynolds MP said: "I really enjoyed helping open the City of Wolverhampton Council's new facilities. Both sites act as an integral part of the local community, and similar to many other grassroots facilities, play a key role in improving the physical health of our nation and increasing the number of people taking part in sport and physical activity.

"The overall progression of grassroots sport through projects such as these in Wolverhampton is fantastic and I would like to thank the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund for supporting such great work. It is great to see the new facilities ready for use and I would like to thank all those involved in making the projects a great success."

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We know how important sports and fitness facilities are to the people of Wolverhampton.

"These developments represent major investment in sport in our city, and will have a major role to play in both improving grassroots sport in Wolverhampton and also improving the health and well being of the local population."

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: "I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund has enabled the City of Wolverhampton Council to build a brand new 3G pitch and upgrade their existing natural grass pitches. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and a special thanks must go to Emma Reynolds MP for opening the new facilities.

"Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3 billion, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.

"With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. These latest projects in Wolverhampton are the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it and to stay healthy."

The Premier League and 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 15,000 grants worth nearly £580 million towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of just under £800 million- over £1.3 billion of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners' investment has provided 337 grants worth £25 million towards grassroots sports projects worth over £61 million across the whole of Birmingham.

By providing more high quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League and 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.

  • released: Monday 3 October, 2016