National Lottery Funding awarded to get more people Active Through Football in Stoke-on-Trent

A grant of £609,155 has been awarded to Staffordshire FA

A grant of £609,155 has been awarded to Staffordshire FA to use football to boost the activity levels of people in Stoke-on-Trent.

An exciting new programme from Sport England, funded by the National Lottery, and delivered by the Football Foundation, will support targeted communities in Stoke-on-Trent to get more active. 

Active Through Football is providing Staffordshire FA, on behalf of a group of organisations, with revenue funding to increase participation in football. The consortium went through a competitive process to secure the funding, which was open to a shortlist of areas across the country where we see some of the greatest inequalities preventing communities from being physically active. 

The Active Through Football project in Stoke-on-Trent will be targeting residents currently experiencing health inequalities and economic hardship, due to unemployment and the impact of Covid-19, aged between 25 and 49 years, living within the most deprived wards in the city.

‘Stronger Together’ is the message that underpins the consortium’s vision, working together with residents to create the capabilities, opportunities and motivation needed to increase physical activity levels and sustained behaviour change.

The project’s focus on physical activity will utilise recreational football as a base to any activity; however, to appeal to the wider audience to become active, consultation showed that the community wanted to see football used more flexibly alongside other motivators. We will therefore offer football activities focusing on weight management, fitness, employability and mental wellbeing. 

In addition, we will be aiming to identify and upskill community champions and volunteers directly within the city to support the delivery of the programme, as well as providing individuals with training opportunities and voluntary experience that will help their personal development for employment.

Community Engagement will be embedded throughout the programme, enabling residents to have their say on what they want to see in their local community to feel inspired to get involved.

The impact it is hoped this programme will have in Stoke on Trent and the benefits for the residents will be shown by the improved opportunities available locally, improved physical and mental health and the increased level of employability within the city.

Kevin Staples, Head of Delivery at the Staffordshire Football Association, said “Securing this funding for the City of Stoke on Trent is a fantastic opportunity for us to work closely with the communities across the city to make a difference to their lives, utilising the power of football. The Active Through Football Programme will aim to engage as many residents as possible to take part in the activities and provide social, wellbeing and volunteering opportunities for local people to be involved. 

“The Project will be delivered in partnership with key organisations across the city including Stoke on Trent City Council, Stoke City Football Club, Port Vale Football Club, Engage Communities, Staffordshire University, Together Active, the Department for Work and Pensions and many more over the next five years. Our collective aim is to create a positive engagement programme to changes the lives of the city’s communities.”

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said: “There is a reason why football is followed and played by so many the world over. It brings people together and helps build connections in communities. It’s also the sport that is played the most in England and has a reach into places where our research shows activity levels are lower. 

“Sport England is proud to be one of the funding partners helping to tackle these inequalities and to support more people from a variety of backgrounds to enjoy playing football and all the benefits that brings.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This grant award to Staffordshire FA is fantastic news for the local community in Stoke On Trent. Football is a game for everyone - regardless of their background - and it’s only right that people across all walks of life are able to play the nation’s favourite game.

“Over the past 21 years, we have been working with communities up and down the country to ensure everyone has access to play football.  

“Thanks to Sport England National Lottery Investment, this new project will help to transform people’s lives by developing physical activities and employability skills in Stoke on Trent, unlocking the many benefits of football for the community.”

Active Through Football Project Manager (Stoke)

Stoke City Football Club of the English Football League is looking for an Active Through Football Project Manager to manage the Stoke on Trent project. Closing date for applications is Monday 22 November 2021. 

Full details regarding the role and application process can be found here