Football Focus Issue 75 - Page 9

Football Foundation The number of teams using the site is expected to rise from 32 to 92. There is currently a lack of pitches in the area that are of a similar standard, so demand is high. Of the 60 new teams expected to use the facility, it is predicted that 29 will be female sides. The school hopes to become a hub for women and girls’ football, as improving local female football participation is a key objective. An increase of 175% in female football participation across all ages is expected at the site as a result. The Academy worked in partnership with the Manchester FA to secure a £386,583 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. 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 around 15,000 grants worth more than £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game. Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 229 grants worth £15.3m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £32.1m across the whole of Manchester. 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. The Rt Hon. Lord Pendry, the President of the Football Foundation who formerly served as an MP in the local area for over 30 years, said: “I’d like to thank the Manchester Health Academy for inviting me to officially unveil their state- of-the-art all-weather pitch. It was a pleasure to be joined by the inspirational Denis Irwin, and local MP Mike Kane. Through investment from the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, the Football Foundation works hard to improve the provision of grassroots sport facilities across the country. This is an excellent example of their work, and I am delighted to see it in use already.” Mike Kane, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, said: “This is a fantastic new facility, and I am honoured to have been asked to help unveil it. It is evident that the all-weather pitch will be hugely beneficial to the school’s pupils and the local community, offering a way to get active and have fun. It was also great to have Denis Irwin here, helping to inspire the students. “Thanks to funding from the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, the Football Foundation is working to create state-of-the- art facilities for grassroots sport up and down the country. I’d like to congratulate the school for securing this funding and support, resulting in an all-weather pitch that is going to improve the health and wellbeing of its many students.” Kevin Green, Principal of the Academy, said: “I wish to thank Denis Irwin for coming along and making this event so memorable for our students and the pupils who joined us from our Partnership Primary Schools. This brilliant new facility has been developed with the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, and will make a huge impact on grassroots sports locally, providing a top quality venue for more than a thousand local sports players each week.” 9