Tracey Crouch MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch, officially unveiled Redditch United FC’s new grassroots football hub at the Trico Stadium today (Thursday 9 March 2017).
The state-of- the-art floodlit all-weather pitch and revamped changing rooms are projected to create 17 new local teams and will also enable Redditch United to bring all of their 38 teams ‘home’ to one venue.
The project was made partly possible thanks to a £561,650 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund (PL/FA:FF), which is delivered by the Football Foundation. The Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) – the Football Foundation’s sister organisation – also invested £88,166 into the project.
In addition to the Redditch teams, which include the Southern League Premier Division club’s Academy run in conjunction with Bournville College, the all-weather pitch is also home to Birmingham City Ladies FC, who will run their Regional Talent Club from the West Midlands site.
Additionally the Albion Foundation, the charitable arm of local Premier League side West Bromwich Albion FC, will use the pitch to deliver programmes for their Player Development Centre, which works with youngsters aged 6-11. The Albion Foundation will also hold coaching camps during school holidays at the Redditch facility, aimed at participants of all abilities ranging from 4-14-years-old.
During the project’s planning, Redditch United FC worked alongside the Birmingham FA and Football Foundation to compile a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP). This is a long-term vision for how sport will be played on-site, with forecasts predicting that eight new girls’ teams and a small-sided adults’ football league will be formed thanks to the new facilities.
The FSIF has awarded Redditch United FC grants totalling £265,936 over the past 15 years to help fund a number of infrastructure developments at the Trico Stadium. These include improvements to their pitch drainage, perimeter fencing and terraced stands.
The PL/FA:FF provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. It is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth nearly £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of £800m – over £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 427 grants worth £26m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £61m across the whole of Birmingham. This local investment has covered 28 all-weather pitches, 42 room changing pavilions and 79 natural grass pitch improvements.
Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport, said: “Good facilities, like this one in Redditch, help encourage people to play sport and gain from the physical, social and mental benefits participation brings. This facility shows what can be achieved when the Government, Premier League and The FA work together in partnership.
“Our joint investment into pitches and changing facilities will not just help increase the numbers of people playing the game but also the amount of youngsters gaining coaching and refereeing qualifications.”
Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch, said: “This all-weather pitch will prove a tremendous asset to the local community, and it’s great to see youngsters already making the most of the new facilities. It’s vital people right across the country are given the opportunity to play sport and stay healthy in safe and accessible environments, and this new football hub will provide exactly that.
“I’d like to thank the club for all their hard work in getting this facility here today, and so too the support and investment of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which has enabled this fantastic project to take place.”
Redditch United Chairman Chris Swan said: “We are exceedingly grateful to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their substantial contribution to our project and the help they have given us along the way.
This investment in grassroots football helps us to reach out to the Redditch community – not only through our many junior and disabled sides that see nearly 1,000 youngsters turning out for the club each week, but also through our popular soccer coaching camps during the holidays.
“I would also like to say a massive thank you to the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch for making the day such a success and also to our own MP Karen Lumley who is a long-time supporter of the football club and what we are looking to achieve.”
Richard Holmes, Worcestershire Development Officer for The Albion Foundation, said: “It’s great to see the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund being used to provide such a high quality facility that will no doubt benefit sport in the area, not only for the club and first team at Redditch United FC, but also for community groups and clubs in the local area.
“Thanks to the Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch MP and Karen Lumley MP for officially unveiling this great facility. I’m looking forward to seeing the development of football in the area as a result.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Redditch United FC to build a fantastic new grassroots football hub. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and I would like to thank the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch MP and Karen Lumley MP for officially unveiling the new facility".