THE official opening of Burton Albion Community Trust’s (BACT) state-of-the-art football centre took place yesterday morning, with first team manager Nigel Clough and club chairman Ben Robinson on hand to cut the ribbon.
A grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation and match funding from many other partner organisations, has enabled BACT to have their own space and facilities to broaden the different themes that they deliver across, including participation, social inclusion, disability, education and health. The site has developed through the partnership of Burton Albion FC and allowing a long-term lease on the site of the Pirelli Stadium.
The new facility comprises: two changing rooms, referee and officials changing rooms, a community room, an education room, breakout rooms and a large office space.
BACT worked alongside 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.
The club worked in partnership with the Staffordshire and Birmingham FA to secure a £892,337 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, to create a unique facility for all of the community to use.
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 over £800m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
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.
Matt Hancock, Head of Community at BACT, said: “We would like to thank everyone who came along to the launch of our new facility. We feel privileged to now be able to call such a fantastic facility ‘our home’. A big thank you must go to the Burton Albion FC, manager Nigel Clough and chairman Ben Robinson for officially opening the building today and for making today such a special occasion.
"Finally, a special mention must also go to everybody that attended today, everybody that has helped us to make the facility happen, as well as all of the school children and their teachers for taking part in our football festival over on the 3G."
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 Burton Albion Community Trust join thousands of local clubs who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of a new football centre.
“Having delivered over £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.”