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England Number One Joe Hart supports the grassroots game

Tue 1st Nov 2011 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

England and Manchester City goal keeper, Joe Hart, lent his support to grassroots football as he opened AFC Urmston Meadowside’s new Football Foundation-funded sports site in Manchester on Friday.

Hart, said: “It’s tremendous to be opening this new facility for AFC Urmston Meadowside – and to see the excitement on all the youngsters’ faces here today.

“Grassroots football is where we all start out, including me, so it is important that this investment goes into community sports sites like this one. And of course there are lots of wider benefits sport has for young people and society.

“The Football Foundation and the Manchester FA are doing a fantastic job; with the funding they get from The FA, Premier League and government, to raise the standard of facilities throughout the grassroots game. Long may it continue.”

AFC Urmston Meadowside, who provide football for over 650 players and run 50 teams, now boast a new state-of-the-art sports pavilion, which is comprised of: six accessible changing rooms; officials’ changing rooms; and a community room that will be used to facilitate club meetings, coach education, school functions and local community groups.

The club has run up a string of accolades in recent years, including Manchester FA Community Club of the Year on three occasions, aswell as North West England FA Community Club of the Year twice. In 2009 they were crowned the National FA Community Club of the Year.

The club worked in partnership with the Manchester County FA to secure a £521,178 grant from the Football Foundation. Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the nation’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.

David Wright, Vice Chair and Fundraising Manager at AFC Urmston Meadowside, added: “The new sports pavilion is our pride and joy, the culmination of a lot of hard work, fundraising and dedication by the many volunteers that run this community football club. We would like to thank all those people who helped us along the way, but particularly our friends at the Football Foundation, the FA and Sport Trafford for their immense support in making our new clubhouse dream become a reality.”

Colin Bridgford, CEO at Manchester FA, said: “I am delighted to see continued investment and partnership work to assist local clubs in providing the very best facilities and environment for participants in grassroots football across Manchester.

“We have worked closely with our partners at the Football Foundation over many years. This has seen £12m being provided to improve grassroots facilities across Manchester, and this is also at the heart of the FA’s key priorities of the National Game Strategy. This outstanding new facility is a credit to the outstanding work of the volunteers at AFC Urmston Meadowside.”

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