Leicester City legends attend opening of refurbished changing pavilion at Birstall United Juniors FC
Leicester City legend Steve Walsh officially opens the refurbished changing pavilion alongside representatives from Birstall United Juniors FC including Chairman, Kevin Glover (centre right), Vice Chair, Pete Cross (centre left) and club secretary, Steve Carr (far right).
Leicester City legends including Steve Walsh and Julian Joachim were in attendance as Birstall United Juniors FC unveiled their refurbished changing pavilion recently (Sunday 19 August). The new facility was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.
The grant enabled Birstall United Juniors FC, an FA Charter Standard Community Club, to refurbish their existing clubhouse. The new facility comprises of vastly improved changing rooms and showers for both players and officials, spectator toilets with disabled access, a clubroom and a servery area with viewing over the pitches.
Birstall United Juniors FC currently provide opportunities for the physical, social and emotional development of approximately 230 children from Birstall and surrounding areas. The club is delighted that it can now support this with a modern, comfortable changing facility at Meadow Lane.
After the official opening, a team of Leicester City legends featuring Julian Joachim took on a coaches eleven from Birstall United Juniors FC to mark the occasion. The legends lived up to their billing and put on an entertaining spectacle, winning 5-1.
Birstall United Juniors FC were awarded a £79,383 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. The club worked alongside the Football Foundation and Leicestershire FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.
It is predicted that the upgraded changing pavilion will result in a 67% boost to overall football participation at Birstall United Juniors FC. The club also expect to introduce a total of 10 new teams, taking their total to 25, which will include establishing two new sides in the Under-18 age bracket as well as two new girls’ teams.
Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 251 grants worth over £15.5m towards grassroots sports projects worth almost £28m across the whole of Leicestershire.
Jim Lennon, who lives on Allington Drive and has volunteered as groundsman at the club for more than 30 years, said: “I never thought I’d see the day - it’s amazing how the club is always looking to improve and expand. It’s worth all the effort we put in when you see the kids enjoying their football.”
Kevin Glover, Chair of Birstall United Juniors FC, said: “We firmly believe that the improved facilities will help us to cement our position in the local community for years to come. Our annual events, including the tournament and bonfire night, have become increasingly popular. We can now be proud of our Meadow Lane site and look to host more of these.”
Jon Sutton, the club’s Funding Officer, said: “We’re hugely grateful to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, and also to other local funders including the Edith Murphy Trust, Birstall Parish Council and Charnwood Borough Council. We’ve even had Birstall locals making one-off donations. And this is just the start. We need to make further improvements to the site, so our fundraising efforts will continue. For example, we’re looking to have a ‘Wall of Fame’ in the new clubhouse.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am delighted that Birstall United Juniors FC has now opened their state-of-the-art clubhouse on Meadow Lane, thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
“Continuing to improve access to high-quality facilities like this one is a key aim for the Premier League, The FA and the Government. Delivered by the Football Foundation, their funding supports projects for clubs and organisations all over the country and is helping to boost the number of people benefiting from sport through better facilities.
“Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities.”