Poor pitches, shoddy changing facilities and the everlasting battle against the elements each winter are set to become a thing of the past thanks to the new £200m Parklife programme.
We’re working with DCMS, The FA, Premier League, Football Foundation and local authorities to improve grassroots facilities across the country.
Over the next five years, we’ll be working together to build up to 120 hub sites throughout England’s towns and cities – providing changing facilities, clubhouses and artificial pitches.
Kicking off in Sheffield
Sheffield is the first city to benefit from the new investment – and today marks the start of a three-month bidding process for local authorities across the country to submit expressions of interest for Parklife investment.
Find out how to submit your expression of interest.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, says: “Better football facilities are crucial to help strengthen the sport at the grassroots and that is exactly why the government is backing this project with funding.
“I want to get more people involved in sport for the positive impact it has on people's lives and partnerships such as this one, bringing together The FA, local authorities and government, can help achieve that.”
I want to get more people involved in sport for the positive impact it has on people’s lives
Tracey Crouch, Sports Minister
English towns and cities a with population of 200,000+ are eligible to apply for the process, which runs until the end of January 2017.
Making the difference
Two centres are already up and running in Sheffield, with building set to start on another in the south east of the city next month.
With state-of-the-art 3G artificial grass pitches, plus a new clubhouse and changing rooms, there are opportunities to play like never before.
“It’s going to make a massive difference,” says Fran Spiers, manager of the Abbey Lane Juniors FC U8s team, who are based at the St. George’s Park Sheffield Graves facility.
“We’ve never had any toilets any changing facilities. It’s just going to be a massive change for us and great opportunity for all the kids.”
Nick Bitel, chair of Sport England, says: “Sheffield marks an important milestone in our drive to improve the quality of community sport facilities across the country.
“Having access to a quality pitch, clean and warm showers, and welcoming facilities can make a huge difference to someone who wants to use them regularly. But this is only half the story. It’s crucial that once the new hubs are up and running, they welcome people who might not think that sport is for them.”