A new state-of-the-art changing pavilion, which will support 100 new footballers at Roade FC over the next five years, was officially opened on Saturday (June 29) by MP Andrea Leadsom.
The pavilion was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation and additional funding from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the sister organisation of the Football Foundation.
After netting a £237,330 grant from the Football Foundation and £50,000 from the FSIF, work began on the site in November 2018. The club also received £75,000 from South Northamptonshire Council and the new community building will ensure Roade FC can continue to thrive as a community hub.
The funding enabled Roade FC, who play at Step 7 in the Northants Combination Football League, to build a spacious new pitch-side changing pavilion for matchday players and officials.
The new facility has under-floor heating, comprises of four changing rooms, two officials’ rooms, dedicated shower and toilet facilities and a kitchen providing match-day catering.
This has replaced the old changing rooms within the clubhouse which were in poor condition and lacked the space and facilities needed for multi-team and mixed gender use.
John Blackmar, chairman at Roade FC, said: “I would like to thank Andrea Leadsom (MP for South Northamptonshire) for opening this fabulous new changing pavilion which will be appreciated by all players at the club, young and old.
"It represents what is undoubtedly the most significant investment in the club’s facilities since the move to the current site in the 1950s, and one that was made possible by the generous support of the Football Foundation and Football Stadia Improvement Fund.”
Roade FC’s history goes back to at least 1910, and football has been played on the Connolly Way site since 1956.
Currently, the club’s playing membership exceeds 240 players, with demand having risen due to completed new housing developments in Roade.
In addition to its adult men’s and women’s teams, the junior section has 13 teams covering every age group from under-7 to under-16.
It is expected that the new pavilion will support an additional six teams playing football at the site over the next five years. This will in turn support over 100 new affiliated players, of which 40 will be competing in girls’ teams.