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Sports Minister praises the West Midlands’ grassroots as the number of people playing sport at Foundation sites grows

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: June 02, 2014

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Grassroots footballers in the West Midlands have contributed to an overall 12.4% rise in the number of people playing sport at Football Foundation-funded sites, and a 9% growth in the number of people playing football at Foundation-funded sites.

The spike in participation has been outlined in the Football Foundation’s annual Monitoring and Evaluation Report, which received praise from Helen Grant MP, Minister for Sport and Equalities.

The Foundation’s annual Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Report highlights the stages and processes undertaken to ensure the money received from our funding partners – the Premier League, The FA, and Government, via Sport England – is performing against its original aims and objectives.

Since 2000, in the West Midlands alone the Foundation has funded 796 grassroots projects, meaning that region has benefitted from £35.6m worth of its Funding Partners’ investment. The Foundation has used this funding to leverage a further £45.4m in partnership funding, thus maximising the investment into grassroots across the West Midlands. This translates as:

•97 facility projects.

•39 artificial grass pitches.

•28 grass pitches.

•51 changing facilities.

•86 GtG grants worth £393,936.

The Foundation’s focus on a “through life” approach to M&E ensures that each facility it invests in reaches its full potential. Simply, the Foundation does not provide a grant and presume that the required outputs will be delivered. Instead, robust performance management systems enable the Foundation to ensure that any investment is properly targeted to achieve the best possible participation and other outcomes. Indeed 90.6% of Foundation-funded projects are meeting or exceeding development expectations.

Minister for Sport and Equalities, Helen Grant, said: “The Foundation’s Monitoring & Evaluation Report shows just how much can be achieved with a strong public-private partnership investment.

“Our work with the football family is developing high quality sports facilities for local people to enjoy. The 12% increase in sports participation at Football Foundation facilities underlines how modern, third-generation pitches in the right locations can help get people more active.

“I was delighted to announce a new package of funding in October – in the form of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund – worth £102m over the next three years. This will help continue to transform local sports facilities and help improve people’s lives for the better.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive at the Football Foundation, added: “The data provided in the Football Foundation Monitoring and Evaluation Report once again demonstrates the significant impact that funding provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, via Sport England, is having on the grassroots in the West Midlands.

“The high-quality facilities that we are providing in the West Midlands not only helps to increase the numbers of people who play football purely for the love of doing so, and as a means of helping them to stay fit and healthy, but will also improve the quality of coaching sessions and thereby raise standards and skill levels. This can only help to improve the quality of players available for the England national team in years to come.”

Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 12,025 grants worth more than £490m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £651m – over £1bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Read the new Monitoring and Evaluation Report, in full, here: www.footballfoundation.org.uk/MEReport2013

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