FA to make £260m investment into Grass Roots Football

Posted August 20th, 2015 by LK2 Amy

Gary Johnson, Director of LK2 Sport and Leisure gives his unique and expert opinion on the new sports strategy paper published by the department of Culture, Media and Sport and the record £260m investment by the FA.

“As the department of Culture, Media and Sport has published its new sports strategy paper, discussion, views and opinion pieces will be common place over the next 3 – 4 months.

Sport England welcome the opportunity for fresh thinking, at the same time recognising ‘that the new strategy will mean change’. The consultation highlighted new opportunities for grassroots sports, including cross-working, potential for new ways to invest public funds.

This consultation aligned with the Football Association outlining its national game strategy priorities with the appealing headline figure of £260m to be invested into the game over the next 4 years, demonstrates the significant level at which sport and leisure is now seen at all levels – grassroots through to the House of Commons.

Having spent over 15 years working at, or with the Football Association, this 4 year strategy and £260m investment could be viewed as the Football Association’s defining moment.

Having worked first hand for the Football Association the criticism that can be levied is hard to understand when specifically talking about grassroots of the game; the workforce, dedication and investment potential is second to none. Without the strategic investment of the Football Association and its key partners (Football Foundation – the Premier League, and the Government through Sport England) we would be looking at a bleak sporting landscape now and in the future.

Having delivered over £10m of investment into successful projects with the Football Association and Sport England over the past 5 years, it is imperative that the new £260m investment is utilised to further maximise ‘Partnership Funding’ and deliver the largest investment in facilities ever seen across the country. It must surely be viewed that the investment in facilities is 1) necessary 2) pivotal to future England success and 3) an opportunity not to be missed. The investment potential of park life into 30 cities to create football hubs and high quality football turf pitches, is an avenue that we hope to support closely. We want to be part of projects that make a real difference.

Although some will argue that it is ‘difficult’, ‘almost impossible’, or ‘the project must be in a deprived area’ to access sport funding, this is simply not the case. Projects that meet the grant aid organisations eligibility criteria and can clearly demonstrate the sports participation impact will have every chance of success if undertaken in the correct manner. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a forgone conclusion, but projects that have a positive outcome can be achieved. Time investment potential of the FA and Sport England really can make your sport project a reality and we have demonstrated this time and time again.

Sports funding will face an overhaul in light of recent and disappointing participation figures. Are we a country failing to live up to the London 2012 legacy promise? Probably not, just a country coming to terms with new life styles and different ways/need to engage all in sport and leisure. So let’s be positive and help the FA, Sport England, NGB’s and local authorities’ impact positively on grassroots sport and much needed facilities. Make no bones about it, the FA and Sport England are identifying and delivering significant investment into sport and leisure, so let’s get behind them in whatever capacity and help shape the future of sport and leisure.”

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FA to make £260m investment into Grass Roots Football

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