52 clubs in Oxfordshire have secured grants worth £161,500 as football comes together to support a safe return.
Over the past few months Oxfordshire FA have worked alongside The Football Foundation, with the support of their funding partners, The FA, Premier League and Government through Sport England, to deliver three initiatives designed to get grassroots, National League System (NLS) and Women’s Pyramid clubs back safely for the new season.
The Pitch Preparation Fund was a new £9.5 million fund aimed at helping grassroots, NLS and Women’s Pyramid clubs to get their natural and artificial grass pitches ready for the resumption of football. Grants of up to £5,000 were available to support clubs to bring surfaces back to life following football’s suspension in March.
A total of 24 Pitch Preparation grants were awarded in Oxfordshire seeing 76 pitches benefit from an investment of £74,500. We are now looking to build on this investment and work with recipients to secure longer term funding to maintain these improvements.
The Club Preparation Fund followed a £7 million investment in pitch preparation and provided a further £2.19 million to help clubs get their buildings safer for the return of the game. The Club Preparation Fund provided fixed £500 grants to support clubs in 3 key areas; keeping the clubhouse and equipment clean, maintaining social distancing and avoiding congestion and promoting good hygiene.
48 Club Preparation grants were awarded in Oxfordshire with those clubs securing a total of £24,000.
The Matchday Support Fund was launched and funded by the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and provided grants from £1,000 to £20,000 for clubs in the NLS and Women’s Football Pyramid. Developed in consultation with stakeholders from these leagues the fund was weighted based on the tier of football clubs played at and provided financial support to meet government COVID-safe guidance concerning stadia and supporters.
All our 11 eligible NLS and Women’s Pyramid clubs were successful in gaining funding resulting in £63,000 worth of grants being accessed.
Oxfordshire FA Business & Facility Development Manager Andy Earnshaw said ‘COVID-19 has provided an unprecedented challenge to the game in Oxfordshire and it was hugely important for football to come together to meet it head on. A big thank you is needed for the Football Foundation and partners for their swift response and support but most importantly huge recognition must go to our club volunteers who have worked tirelessly to bring the game back safely’.
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