Burton Albion FC Chairman, Ben Robinson, and the club’s manager Nigel Clough officially opened the Burton Albion Community Trust’s (BACT) brand new football centre yesterday (Thursday 25 January).
They were joined by Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton. The project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation.
The funding has enabled BACT, the charitable arm of Burton Albion FC, to build a state-of-the-art new changing pavilion – the first floor of which has been transformed into an education and training hub. The facility will support the site’s existing all-weather pitch, which was officially opened by Gareth Southgate in February 2017.
The Trust’s new football centre comprises two team changing rooms, an officials’ changing room and accessible toilets on the ground floor. On the first floor, the pavilion boasts an education studio, large office space, a community room and a kitchenette. The education hub will aid BACT in delivering a number of outcomes.
These objectives, based on workforce development, span themes including participation, social inclusion, disability, education and health. Through initiatives including a large coach education programme, a Coaching Academy for 16-18-year-olds and the development of an apprentice framework, the Trust will use their new facility to improve football opportunities for the local community.
Burton Albion Community Trust worked alongside the Staffordshire FA and the Football Foundation 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.
A number of users will be able to take advantage of the new changing provision, including Stretton Eagles FC, Outwoods FC and Burton Junior Football League. Combined with the new pitch, it is predicted that the new pavilion will support an expected 127 teams using the site within five years.
The Trust worked in partnership with the Staffordshire FA to secure a £892,337 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which was used to install the all-weather pitch, build the changing pavilion and develop the education facilities.
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 207 grants worth £16.2m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £30m across the whole of Staffordshire.
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.
Nigel Clough, Burton Albion FC Manager, said: “It’s fantastic to see this football hub complete and being used by the community already. The Burton Albion Community Trust has a number of initiatives in place, to help improve opportunities locally through the game, and it’s obvious that the facilities here are going to provide great support for that.
“Through the generous funding provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, this football hub will help to improve the standard of local grassroots sport provision. The Football Foundation, which delivers this funding, is supporting their goal through the creation and improvement of grassroots facilities up and down the country.”
Ben Robinson, Burton Albion FC Chairman, said: “Our Community Trust works hard to positively impact the local community, and I’m so pleased that they have this wonderful facility to support their efforts. The Trust’s football hub, including the existing all-weather pitch, will be vital to achieving their objectives through its various community development programmes.
“I’d like to thank the Football Foundation for their support of this project, made possible by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. It’s always great to see money being invested into the grassroots level of the game, helping to get more and more people involved in football.”
Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton, said: “It’s wonderful to see Burton Albion Community Trust’s new facility open, and I’d like to congratulate them on their hard work. It is already evident that the pavilion will be of great benefit to the local community – not only through providing comfortable changing facilities for its users, but also thanks to the education hub and the opportunities it will offer.
“With funding from the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, the Football Foundation is hard at work delivering facilities like this across the country. They are not only helping to improve grassroots football at local levels, but also creating new jobs through site construction and improving mental and physical health by encouraging people to get involved in the sport.”
Matt Hancock, Head of Community at BACT, said: “We would like to thank everyone who came along to the launch of our new facility. We feel privileged to now be able to call such a fantastic facility ‘our home’. A big thank you must go to the Burton Albion FC manager Nigel Clough and Chairman Ben Robinson for officially opening the building and for taking their time to meet so many new faces.
“Finally, a special mention must go to all of the school children and their teachers that came along, taking part in our football festival over on the 3G pitch. It gave the whole morning that extra community feel about it, with lots of fantastic skills and smiles on show.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides the investment necessary to improve grassroots football facilities. So, I am delighted to see Burton Albion Community Trust join thousands of local clubs and organisations who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of their football centre. My thanks go to Ben Robinson and Nigel Clough for taking the time to officially open it.
“Having delivered over £1.4bn of grassroots sports infrastructure projects, the Football Foundation has developed a network of accessible, first-class facilities in areas they will have the greatest impact – thanks to money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England.
“These facilities are more than places to play football at, these facilities are hubs of physical activity, the bedrock of local communities and ‘homes from home’ for so many who also use them as social outlets to learn new skills, gain work experience and other qualifications.”