New funding has been allocated for grassroots football in Northamptonshire - with the first stage of the project being to provide new and improved 3G football pitches.
West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has joined forces with the Northamptonshire FA and the Football Foundation to improve the quality and accessibility of grassroots football facilities in the area.
The partnership has been established to support the Football Foundation’s ten-year Local Football Facility Plan, which maps out the football facilities needed across every local authority area in England.
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The council said the news comes at a time when the country has a 'deep sense of pride' at the achievements of the England Squad in the Euros 2021.
Councillor Adam Brown, of WNC, said: “Gareth Southgate’s squad showed the kind of spirit that makes this nation great.
“We want to make sure our children have the kind of facilities that will help them on their way to being England stars of the future.”
The government committed £25million of new funding to support the growth of grassroots football in its spring Budget, the first part of a £550million commitment over a ten-year period.
Councillor Brown said: “We will be working with the Northamptonshire FA and the Football Foundation to turn these plans into reality.
“We know that creating better facilities makes a real difference to people’s everyday lives. It means more people can play our national game and improve their physical and mental health, whilst giving young people more to do and building a sense of community around clubs.
“We would really like to see these plans accelerated so that we can build these pitches sooner to give our towns and villages the sporting facilities they deserve and get people active throughout West Northamptonshire.”
The council said the first stage of the project will be to identify viable locations for new and improved 3G football pitches.
The project also aims to improve the quality of grass football pitches and create more accessible changing facilities, according to WNC.
Stuart Smith of Northamptonshire FA said: “We’re really excited to be having such positive dialogue with WNC about improving the facilities for grassroots football.
“Over 700 grassroots teams play in west Northamptonshire so we’re looking forward to helping to deliver these projects for the benefit of their players, and for the local community. Grassroots football is thriving in Northants thanks to the tireless work of the hundreds of club and league volunteers. Hopefully together we can deliver facilities that they can be proud of.”