MP Dame Rosie Winterton was present as Club Doncaster officially opened a new state-of-the-art all-weather pitch at their Club Doncaster Sports Village recently thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The grant enabled Club Doncaster to replace an existing grass pitch at their site with a brand new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP). This is helping to address the demand for all-weather surfaces locally, with the Sports Village having a second 3G AGP that is fully booked.
The new facility will benefit a range of site users. These include partner clubs Doncaster Rovers Belles FC, Bessacarr JFC and AFC Bentley; FC Mighty Kicks; Club Doncaster Titans FC and the Doncaster Deaf Trust. The Doncaster District Junior League will also use the pitch as a central venue.
The Club Doncaster Foundation is based at the Sports Village and will also use the pitch to deliver a range of community outreach programmes, including Premier League Kicks sessions. The 3G AGP will also support Sheffield & Hallamshire FA in delivering coach and referee education.
Club Doncaster worked alongside the Sheffield & Hallamshire 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.
Thanks to the improved scheduling flexibility that the all-weather pitch will afford users, it is expected that the number of teams using the site will increase from 69 to 99. This supports the expected boost in football participation across all ages of 497 per cent.
Improving female football provision is a key objective at the site, which is being helped by Doncaster Rovers Belles’s plans to centralise all training and matches at the Sports Village. As a result, it is predicted that overall female sports participation will increase by 275 per cent.
The club worked in partnership with the Sheffield & Hallamshire FA to secure a £276,802 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
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 more than £800m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 328 grants worth more than £12m towards grassroots sports projects worth £25.7m across the whole of the Sheffield and Hallamshire area.
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.
Gavin Baldwin, chief executive of Club Doncaster, said: “This investment means we can further widen the facilities on offer at the Club Doncaster Sports Village, as we strive to offer world-class support for the region.
“I’d like to thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for helping us provide these extra facilities. It will have a really positive impact on grassroots sports in the Doncaster area.”
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 Club Doncaster join thousands of local clubs who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of their new all-weather pitch.
“Having delivered more than £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.”