Grassroots in Lowestoft and Tipton boosted by Facilities Fund
Tue 7th Oct 2014 | Football Stadiums & Facilities
Football in Lowestoft, Suffolk, and Tipton in the West Midlands has received a boost thanks to more than £1.5 million from the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund.
The fund, which is committing £102 million of investment from the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England over three seasons starting last year, helped to build a new pavilion at one of Lowestoft's big grassroots hubs as well as install a new floodlit 3G artificial grass pitch at the Kirkley and Pakefield Community Sports and Social Club in the town.
The new pavilion at Dip Farm will seek to address a recent decline in adult football for which poor changing facilities were seen as affecting and will be used primarily by the Lowestoft & District League (36 teams across three divisions) and the Lowestoft Sunday League (18 teams across two divisions) and their member clubs.
The new pitch at Kirkley and Pakefield will help with the creation of 15 teams, including two disability, four women's and girls' teams and three senior men's teams. It will also be used by Norwich City to coach girls' football and to deliver the club's community programme during holidays as well as being used by a new local school which was lacking in sports facilities.
Lowestoft is where Terry Butcher, the former Ipswich Town and England captain, grew up and he and Chris Sutton, the former Norwich City player who won the 1994/95 Barclays Premier League with Blackburn Rovers and has close ties with the region, joined FA chairman Greg Dyke to inspect the facilities. All three were impressed with the upgrades thanks to the PLFAFF and delivered by the Football Foundation.
"We used to play on parks, with jumpers for goalposts or on the beach in Lowestoft, which was actually the best place to play for me - but this is much better," Butcher said. "We never had these facilities when I was younger.
"Of course we would've loved to have artificial grass pitches and a floodlit area, but I don't think I'd have done very well in school if we did have them!"
Dyke said: "I'm delighted that The FA has been able to play its part in making these tremendous new facilities at Dip Farm a reality and I commend all the partners that have come together to make this happen."
In Tipton, Shropshire, a school's new 3G pitch will allow the institution to expand its football offering as well as that of the local team. RSA Academy is looking to create 10 new teams thanks to the £495,392 grant from the Facilities Fund, as well as build more ties with local teams to allow students to get involved with grassroots clubs.
The new site will also benefit Tipton Youth FC, a community club, which can grow from 14 to 33 teams thanks to the new facilities, which include a new pavilion. West Bromwich Albion's ability to deliver community programmes such as coaching local pupils will also now take place at the academy.
Posted by: Kev Howland
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