Finding the Funds

November 27, 2009

[image1]The visit of Sir Trevor Brooking to Bristol Rovers on Friday 6th November was timely and really welcome. Trevor took in our first round FA Cup tie against Southampton and then the following day he was at Paulton Rovers to be part of the memorable occasion when the Southern League club hosted the might of Norwich City in the same competition.  

Trevor’s visit reminded me not only of the very good player that he was for West Ham and England but also of the very good work that he has done at the FA and at Sport England to provide sources of funding for numerous projects in football and in other sports. 

Finding the funds for football projects in the community and at grass roots level has become increasingly challenging. It is now almost a full time job for those of us in the community team as we strive to reach out to a wider range of participation and to grow the work that we do here at Bristol Rovers. We have risen to the challenge over the past twelve months and thanks to the good work of Peter Aitken, John Moody and others we have started projects this season that will benefit young people in the Henbury area, the over sixties in South Gloucestershire and the unemployed and homeless across the Bristol. This is of course on top of the many other well established activities that we are engaged with in local schools and elsewhere in our community. 

There are many sources of funding that we scan as we search for funds and work hard on our applications to bring in the finance to support our work. There are probably over 80 charitable trusts and foundations offering assistance for local community projects, including those which support sport. Sportsmatch is set up to match contributions made from the commercial and private sector. It was thanks to Sportmatch that we were able to double the finance we received from SAM Learning to promote healthy living and lifestyles to young children in local primary schools. Awards for All is another source of funding that we have applied to in the recent past. The scheme is run by The Arts Council, The Big Lottery and sport England for art, sport and heritage activities at a local level.  

It only takes one misbehaving so called football fan to make the headlines but how many people outside of football know that The Football Foundation is the UK’s biggest sports charity. The Foundation is supported by the Football Association, the FA Premier League and the Government and directs £40m every year into grass roots sport.  

The Foundation receives money from the very top of the professional game and also from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport through Sport England. It then uses this money to leverage even more partnership funding, to deliver a programme of new and improved community sports facilities in towns and cities across the country. The Foundation also funds projects that increase participation in football and other sports and address some of society’s key challenges, such as social inclusion, health, education and equalities. The Foundation also runs a range of specific grant streams dedicated to giving rapid but targeted support to thousands of community sports projects. 

The Football Foundation’s ambassador’s scheme uses the inspiration of professional football players to promote the Foundation and the wider benefits of the game of football. The president of the scheme is Gareth Southgate. The idea of the ambassador’s scheme is to use good role models from the game to gain recognition for what the Foundation is trying to achieve. The ambassadors are informed of the projects being funded, offer words of support and attend photo calls to celebrate the start up of new projects. Other ambassadors include Peter Beardsley, Robbie Earle, Wes Brown of Manchester United, Faye White of Arsenal Ladies, and John Scales.

John Scales joined Bristol Rovers having been released by Leeds United as a teenager. He made his debut for the club against Lincoln City when we were still playing at Eastville. John is one of the select band of Rovers players who played at both Eastville and Twerton Park. He went on to become a first class defender with Wimbledon, Liverpool and Spurs. It is really pleasing to learn that John is involved with the Football Foundation as one if its’ leading ambassadors.

Gloucestershire FA reports that two schools in the Bristol area will never again have to cancel football matches due to bad weather, following significant grants from the Football Foundation towards new and improved facilities on their respective sites.

St Bedes Sports and Community College located in Lawrence Weston received a large sum of money. The grant will contribute towards a the cost of a third generation (3G) all weather pitch and new changing rooms. Chipping Sodbury School in South Gloucestershire also received a very large sum again for a 3G all weather pitch and changing rooms as part of their overall school sports facilities redevelopment.

GFA Development Manager Nick Baker said “It’s great for footballers of all ages as it these projects will enable the two schools to become local hubs of footballing excellence.”  

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