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Martin Keown Opens New Sports Hub in Oxford

Fri 27th Jan 2012 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

Football players across Oxford were celebrating after a new state-of-the-art multi-sports hub at Oxford City Football Club was officially opened by former Arsenal and England footballer, Martin Keown. 

Comprising a full size floodlit artificial grass pitch, six floodlit netball courts and a new changing pavilion, the Community Arena received a total of £2.1 million of funding from the Football Foundation, Sport England, The Football Association, England Netball, Oxford City Council and the Oxford Sport Council.

The Arena received a £732,000 grant from the Football Foundation, a sports charity that is funded by the Premier League, The FA and Sport England. In addition the club secured £83,000 from the Foundation’s sister organisation, the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF).

Martin Keown said: “I’d like to thank the Football Foundation, Sport England and the Netball Association as without their help none of this would be possible. This is a real breakthrough to see such quality sports facilities in the area.”

Football Foundation chairman, Gary Hoffman, said: “This tremendous new complex is a great example of what the Football Foundation is dedicated to supporting up and down the country. The new facilities will provide a much needed sports hub for the local community and I praise the hard work of Oxford City Football Club and the Oxfordshire County FA for making this happen.

“Having facilities like this available on people’s doorstep will help inspire the country to become more active and reap the rewards that playing sport has to offer. The Foundation is committed – with funding from the Premier League, The FA and the government – to continue raising the standard of grassroots facilities in the future."

The facility secured £350,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Iconic Facilities fund, part of the Places People Play legacy programme that is bringing the magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities across the country.  The facility will also carry the London 2012 Inspire mark – celebrating the link to the Games.

Sport England’s Property Director, Charles Johnston, said: “Our investment in this facility will ensure many more people in Oxford will have the chance to get out and enjoy more opportunities to play football and netball.

“As we draw closer to this year’s Games, it is vital we continue to invest in and support facilities like the Community Arena to ensure we deliver a lasting legacy beyond London 2012.”

A further £200,000 came from The FA, as part of their capital allocation within the Whole Sport Plan agreed with Sport England. This specific aspect of funding has been awarded to support the sustainability of community clubs and create more opportunities to participate in sport within a high quality environment.

While the installation of the artificial pitch is the first of its kind to open in the local area, the additional netball facilities will address the short supply of outdoor courts. The Arena is now expected to attract new users from clubs and schools.

Councillor Mark Lygo, Board Member for Parks and Sports at Oxford City Council, said: “It is fantastic that this facility is now open for the community to use.

“It will be a well-used facility that is much needed within the community and not only provides football activities but also facilities for netball players.”

Colin Taylor, Voluntary Managing Director at Oxford City Football Club, said: “I am delighted that we are now able to use this facility.

“The club has waited a long time for this community arena to be developed and I have watched the building process over the last couple of months.

“Even in the short period that it has been open, the arena has been well used and the feedback from the teams has been excellent.

“We are looking forward to this facility becoming a much loved asset in our community.”

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