All smiles in Solihull as Dame Caroline Spelman MP unveils new multi-sport hub


MP for Meriden, Dame Caroline Spelman, and Mayor of Solihull, Cllr. Stuart Davis, officially opened Dickens Heath Sports Club’s new multi-sport hub.

The grants have enabled Dickens Heath Sports Club to refurbish their changing room pavilion and upgrade all of the club’s Mini-Soccer and full-size pitches. Thanks to the works, local delivery partners Tanworth & Camp Hill CC and Leafield Athletic Ladies FC now meet their respective leagues’ infrastructure requirements, enabling them to widen their recruitment from satellite schools, and subsequently increase sports participation in the area.

In order to maximise the facility’s usage by the local community, Dickens Heath Sports Club worked alongside the Football Foundation and Birmingham FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan – a long-term vision of how sport will be played on-site.

Through this plan, Leafield Athletic Ladies FC will call the new facilities home, which will create a player pathway through to adult football; changes which are projected to create four new teams and raise football participation by 84%.

The new multi-purpose pavilion comprises: two team changing rooms; two officials’ changing rooms; a redesigned clubhouse with disabled facilities, and spectator toilets.

Dickens Heath Sports Club worked in partnership with the Birmingham County FA to secure a £150,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. The project also received £50,000 from the Premier League, through the FSIF, and £103,000 from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities and Protecting Playing Fields funds.

Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 429 grants worth £26m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £61m across the whole of Birmingham.

Dame Caroline Spelman, who has been the MP for the Meriden area since 1997, said: “I am delighted to open this new state-of-the-art sports hub. It is a great addition to the community and will play a significant role in improving grassroots sports participation in the area.

“Providing this range of excellent facilities would not have been possible without the hard work of Dickens Heath Sports Club in securing this grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. I would like to thank all those involved for their efforts.”

The club’s Chairmen, Peter Carey and Dan Hearnden, said: “We are delighted to have secured this investment, which will enable us to upgrade the quality of our football and cricket pitches, refurbish the clubhouse and add new changing rooms. The project has been made possible by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and Sport England.

“It is our strategy to get the club fully integrated in the local area to maximise our membership by offering junior and adult competition in cricket and football to anyone who wants to join a local sports club.

“We also would like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and Sport England for their help in getting the grants and the management of them. We also want to thank our local MP Dame Caroline Spelman and the Solihull Mayor Cllr. Stuart Davis for opening our new facilities.”