PLAYERS in Lowestoft are benefiting from fresh investment into local football facilities.
Waveney FC were awarded a £22,000 grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation, to purchase pitch improvement equipment to improve and maintain their grass football pitches
The Football Foundation is the UK’s largest sports charity and exists to improve the experience of playing football for everyone, by championing fair access to quality facilities.
The grant is giving more than 700 players at Waveney FC the opportunity to play football each week by reducing the number of postponed games and by improving the pitches at Saturn Close and Dip Farm.
Waveney FC play at Step 7 in the Anglian Combination Premier League, with their Ladies competing in the Suffolk Women’s & Girls’ Football League. The club have 55 teams affiliated this season which includes boys and girls’ Youth teams, adult and disability teams.
Players are now able to enjoy better quality pitches, representing a significant improvement on the previous pitches, which were classed as in ‘Basic’ condition following a pitch inspection by an independent assessor.
Waveney FC worked with the Football Foundation and Suffolk FA to secure the grant of £22,087 towards the project, together with a grant of £5,000 from East Suffolk Council through Local County Councillor, Steven Ardley representing the Gunton ward.
Mark Gamble, Chairman of Waveney FC, said: “We are delighted to have secured the funding from the Football Foundation, Suffolk County FA and Mr Ardley.
“The equipment is making a big difference to the quality of the pitches and therefore improving the quality of the football experience for all of our players.
“We have a team of volunteers led by club trustee, Shawn Staniforth, who together with Dan Carter, who are both members of the grounds maintenance association, have worked tirelessly on not only maintaining the pitches at Saturn Close but making sure that the football pitches are playable as we enter the winter months.
“The venue is the club’s home for Senior football, Ladies and older Youth teams and we are working to ensure the facilities are improved and fitting for our membership.”
Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This grant awarded to Waveney FC towards developing and improving the quality of their grass pitches by providing equipment, accessories and a storage container is great news for the local community.
“It will support people’s ability to play our national game locally and therefore help unlock football’s many benefits to physical and mental wellbeing.
“That’s why we’re committed to transforming the face of grassroots football facilities in this country. It’s therefore very welcome news to hear that this funding for Waveney FC to develop Saturn Close and Dip Farm ensuring the work they do is for the benefit of their local community.
“The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners – the Premier League, The FA, government and Sport England – support facility development projects like this across the country over the next decade to transform our grassroots game and unlock the power of pitches.”
Shaun Staniforth is pictured above sitting on the club’s new tractor.