Dudley Council's new football facility set to boost the local grassroots game
Mayor of dudley, cllr. david tyler, was delighted to officially open dudley metropolitan borough council's brand new all-weather pitch.
Their new facility was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The funding enabled the Council to replace the sand-based artificial grass pitch (AGP) at the Dell Stadium with a third generation (3G) AGP. The state-of-the-art new playing surface, which joins the stadium’s four existing grass pitches, changing pavilion and athletics track, will support the development of the grassroots game in Dudley.
The area already has a history of producing football talent. Sam Allardyce, who grew up in Dudley, started his career with Dudley Town FC in 1968 before being sold to Bolton Wanderers FC. Wolverhampton Wolves FC defender and current Captain, Danny Baath, is also a local man and previously played at the Dell Stadium in his youth.
Users set to benefit from the upgraded facility include the charity arm of Wolverhampton Wolves FC, the Wolves Community Trust, who will deliver outreach sessions on-site, Dudley Town FC, Gornal Colts FC and Stourbridge & District Youth Football League. Dudley College have been offered use of the new facility to support its own 3G AGP, also funded by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and officially opened in December 2016.
In addition, the Birmingham FA plan to base part of its coach education programme on-site – helping to develop future coaches using the state-of-the-art surface. Dudley Council will also be working with Birmingham FA in developing a new disability team, to participate in the Ability Counts League.
Dudley MBC were awarded a £543,927 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The club worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Birmingham FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.
Thanks to the improved surface provided by the brand new 3G AGP, 32 teams are expected to be introduced across facility users. This will take the total number of teams using the site from eight to 40, and a 260% boost in football participation for those under the age of 14 is predicted as a result. Of the new teams, it is planned that four will be girls’ sides. This, along with an increase in mixed Mini-Soccer on-site, supports a rise in female football participation of 158%.
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 over 17,000 grants worth more than £615m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of £817m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 389 grants worth £21.3m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £49.5m across the whole of Birmingham.
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.
Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South, said: “It’s wonderful to hear that Dudley Council’s new pitch has been officially unveiled, the benefits of which are already evident. I know this will make a real difference to its many lucky users, and I’d like to thank the Premier League, The FA and the Government for their support and funding towards this project.
“Football is a real passion in our area, which is why I’m so pleased that members of the community now have access to this state-of-the-art new pitch. This will provide more opportunities for people to get involved in the game – improving their health and wellbeing, but also just giving them a chance to enjoy themselves.”
Cllr. Ian Kettle, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Enterprise from Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “I thank The Worshipful Mayor of Dudley Cllr. David Tyler for officially opening the facility. I thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for the grant of £543,927. The new facility will benefit grassroots football and in particular Pensnett Panthers FC, Dudley Sports JFC, Dudley Town FC, Gornal Colts FC and Stourbridge and District Youth and Girls Football League.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am delighted that Dudley MBC has now opened their state-of-the-art 3G AGP, thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
“Continuing to improve access to high-quality facilities like this one is a key aim for the Premier League, The FA and the Government. Delivered by the Football Foundation, their funding supports projects for clubs and organisations all over the country and is helping to boost the number of people benefiting from sport through better facilities.
“Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities.”