Shrewsbury Town in the Community unveils new sports hub in Shropshire
Shrewsbury Town in the Community (STiTC), in partnership with the Shropshire FA, officially unveiled their state-of-the-art football hub recently (Sunday 27 August), thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The grant has enabled STiTC, the official charity of Shrewsbury Town FC, to undertake a major refurbishment project. The stadium, which was previously under-used and neglected, comprises a large clubhouse, a third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) and a floodlit natural grass pitch. Essential improvements have been made to the clubhouse to ensure it remains functional, whilst the 3G AGP and grass pitch have undergone surface improvement works.
This Football Development Plan, compiled by Shrewsbury Town in the Community alongside the Shropshire FA and the Football Foundation, will be at the heart of the Community Trust’s business plan to ensure that the facility operates in a sustainable way. This is in addition to a number of wider objectives for the Trust relating to education, healthy living and community safety.
STiTC will be a major user of the site, along with their three partner clubs: Ludlow Football Club, Ludlow Town Juniors and Ludlow Ladies FC. It is expected that 28 new teams will be established across the partner clubs, and STiTC will introduce disability football sessions with the objective of creating a team to compete in the Ability Counts League.
A girls’ Football Coaching Centre for Under-10 and upwards is planned, which will boost female football participation at the site. FA Skills sessions will also be held for local schools and during holiday time. Overall sports participation at the Stadium hub is expected to increase by 2,660%.
Shrewsbury Town in the Community worked in partnership with the Shropshire FA to secure a £70,335 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 over £800m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 124 grants worth £7.8m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £30m across the whole of Shropshire.
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.
Dave Ralphs, Chairman of the Ludlow Stadium Football Partnership, said: “We plan to support the development of junior and senior football in the area and help create a community hub and focus for all of the football clubs involved in the partnership. We owe a great debt to the new landowner, the Shropshire FA, Shrewsbury Town In the Community, Dave McDermott of the Football Foundation, Ludlow Town Council, local clubs and of course the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, for ensuring the project came to fruition.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Shrewsbury in the Town to upgrade Ludlow Stadium and create a community sports hub. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.
“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.4bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.
“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This latest project in Ludlow is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it and to stay healthy.”