Foootball hub for North Solihull will boost on-site participation by 512%
CTC KiNGShurst academy celebrated their state-of-the-art sports hub facilities, comprising a new all-weather pitch and changing pavillion, on thursday 10th may, with help from cllr. flo nash.
Their facilities were made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & the FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. The grant enabled CTC Kingshurst Academy to install the brand new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) and changing pavilion, helping to improve the provision for grassroots football in the local area.
The facilities support the delivery of numerous sessions, including FA coaching courses and the school’s Post-16 Football Academy. In addition, Birmingham City FC run development centre sessions on the new 3G surface during the week, as well as football camps during school holidays. These sessions supplement high quality coaching with visits from professional players, to inspire and encourage those taking part.
The pavilion provides changing facilities for four teams, as well as including two officials’ rooms, a multi-function room and accessible spectator toilets. The Academy and other users, such as partner club Arden Forest FC, Marston Green FC, Kingshurst Sporting Club FC and Solihull Sporting Girls and Ladies FC, are all able to take advantage of the new changing provision.
Users also have access to the state-of-the-art, floodlit all-weather playing surface, in addition to the site’s existing grass pitches. This acts as the venue for Arden Forest FC’s home fixtures and training and will enable them to expand its girls’ football provision. It also provides an excellent learning environment for the Academy’s students, who are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities within the local game.
CTC Kingshurst Academy were awarded a £492,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. Solihull Regen also contributed £100,000 to the development of the sports hub. CTC Kingshurst Academy 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.
Partner club Arden Forest FC, for whom the sports hub is a home base, expect to introduce 11 brand new sides thanks to the facilities available. This will take their total number of teams from 13 to 24, and will support a 512% rise in overall football participation on-site. This is in addition to participation increases resulting from the delivery of FA initiatives on-site, including Team Sixteen and Team Nineteen as well as Football Mash Up.
The Post-16 Football Academy is also helping to boost participation. The programme will support 90 students in developing as players, through providing daily coaching run by Solihull Moors FC members – including midfielder Darren Carter. The Football Academy will help its young members gain new qualifications and make the most of what the game has to offer.
Arden Forest FC will also run new girls’ taster sessions for local schools, and plans to introduce new female sides. Along with the FA Skills on-site delivery, which aims to create new female teams as well, this will help to increase women and girls’ football participation on-site by 644%.
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 391 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.
Darren Carter, the Solihull Moors FC midfielder involved in the school’s Football Academy, said: “The Post 16 Academy gives the players a huge opportunity to pursue a career in football while also carrying on their education alongside training. It is great for the club as these boys not only represent the Moors in the community but also can potentially progress all the way to the first team.”
Lee Fletcher, Director of Extended Services at CTC Kingshurst Academy, said: “This facility has transformed football in this academy and the community. For our students it plays a key role in them enjoying happy and fulfilling lives during their time here. For years, this community has been in desperate need of a high quality 3G to sustain training throughout the year and a Post 16 Football Academy. The 3G and pavilion is making a massive contribution to player development and supporting the FA National Game Strategy. With the support of the LTA now too, we have a thriving sports hub with football at the centre.
“Most of our Charter Standard clubs have agreed on all year hire agreements that will make a massive difference to player development. We are very grateful to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, Solihull Regen and our partner clubs for supporting us in making this happen. We now aim to provide a beacon of excellence and support the development of similar projects at other schools by replicating our operational model to maximise usage.”
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 CTC Kingshurst Academy has their state-of-the-art 3G AGP and changing pavilion in Solihull, 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.”