New figures show that football in Oxfordshire is set to receive a significant boost over the next 12 months.
New investment provided by The FA, and delivered by the Football Foundation, has been announced that will support the growth and maintenance of 27 teams in the area which is expected to cater for 570 footballers in local leagues.
Grow the Game, which was first launched back in 2010, offers grants of £1,500 towards community football clubs wishing to establish new teams and this year focused on catering for female and disabled players.
Retain the Game is a brand-new scheme, which was launched in April of this year, and is targeted at supporting existing adult male clubs to continue offering local opportunities to play. Grants of £750 are made to support the essential costs of playing and training.
A large number of clubs in Oxfordshire have been successful in securing investment from The FA through the Football Foundation. Over the course of the next year, Grow the Game will support the growth of four female and one disabled team respectively, while Retain the Game will help to maintain 22 adult male sides in Oxfordshire.
Funding from both grants can be used to help a club pay for FA coaching courses; FA league affiliation costs; referees’ fees; first aid kits; and even football kit and equipment through a bespoke voucher.
Danielle Carter, Member of The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board and Arsenal Women’s Striker, said: “It’s extremely exciting that so many community clubs in England have successfully applied for Grow the Game funding.
“We should start to see increased numbers of women’s, girls and disability teams in parks and facilities across the country, which will hopefully inspire even more new players to take up, enjoy and continue to build the sport amongst these groups.”
Aidy Boothroyd, England Under-21s Head Coach, said: “It’s encouraging to see so many grassroots clubs up and down the country taking advantage of funding available through Retain the Game.
“Whilst the total number of adult male footballers in England has increased over the past few years, it is vital that regular playing opportunities continue to exist with teams in their local areas.
“I hope this new scheme will make a real difference across the country and help to maintain high levels of participation throughout the men’s game.”
Ian Mason, Chief Executive Officer at Oxfordshire FA, said: “We are very grateful to The FA for the funding delivered to increase participation within the grassroots game across Oxfordshire. It’s brilliant to know that 22 teams will be able to continue to offer playing opportunities for their players, whilst we’re excited to welcome new players joining the new teams created as a result of Grow the Game. Our thanks also go to all teams that applied for their commitment to ensuring participation is maintained and developed.”
Across the two campaigns, The FA has made £2.5 million available to grassroots clubs looking to either create or retain association football clubs for grassroots footballers across the country.
As well as Grow the Game and Retain the Game, the Football Foundation delivers the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund on behalf of the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England. Since 2000, the Foundation has supported over 16,000 community projects worth more than £1.5bn.
In Oxfordshire, the Football Foundation’s Funding Partner investment has helped to support the development of:
- Three third generation artificial grass pitches
- 21 real grass pitches
- 16 changing pavilions