'Three Cheers for Volunteers' - Says Former England Manager Graham Taylor OBE

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Grassroots football gets a boost from former England manager and UK's largest sports charity

Graham Taylor is a big supporter of the Football Foundation and grassroots sport

That investment has come from the Premier league, The FA and Government, along with local match funders, and long may it continue.

As England prepares to take on Croatia at Wembley Wednesday night, the volunteers who dedicate their spare time to help make the grass roots of our national game happen got a big pat on the back today from a man who has managed at the top level.

Former England Manager Graham Taylor OBE and Football Foundation Chief Executive Paul Thorogood paid tribute to the mums and dads across Britain - approximately one million of them - who give up their precious evenings and weekends for nine months each season to enable their sons and daughters to play the game they love.

As coaches, makeshift drivers and kit washers they are the lifeblood of the game and without these volunteers it would not be able to survive. It is therefore essential that they are provided with the support needed to ensure the game is played in the right way, with the right ethos, and in the right conditions.

The Football Foundation is the country's largest sports charity with an annual income of £40m provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has supported 7,034 grass roots football projects worth £835m.

This investment has helped build first-class new facilities, develop junior football clubs and provide free kit and equipment, enabling parents and volunteers to get on with the business of developing the next generation of footballing enthusiasts.

Speaking on behalf of the Football Foundation, Graham Taylor said: "Supporting volunteers at the grass roots is essential. If you think about the ultimate football icon of the last ten years - David Beckham - where did he come from? Like everyone else, it was through the grass roots.

"So the £835m worth of projects that the Football Foundation has supported in the last nine years is crucial to assisting those mums and dads who give up their spare time week in, week out.

"That investment has come from the Premier league, The FA and Government, along with local match funders, and long may it continue."

Football Foundation investment into each region since it launched in July 2000:

North West of England - supported 987 projects £138m (grant value: £47m)
North East of England    - supported 389 projects £42m (£23m)
Yorkshire - supported 653 projects £73m (£38m)
East of England    - supported 979 projects £74m (£39m)
East Midlands - supported 741 projects £85m (£45m)
West Midlands    - supported 635 projects £78m (£31m)
London    - supported 676 projects £133m (£56m)
South East - supported 973 projects worth £75m (£38m)
South West - supported 936 projects £72m (£36m)

ENDS

For more information contact Rory Carroll on 0845 345 4555 ext 4280 or visit http://www.footballfoundation.org.uk .

Notes to editors:

About the Football Foundation and the Football Stadia Improvement Fund

The Football Foundation is the UK’s largest sports charity with an annual income of £40m provided by the Premier League, The FA and Government. The Football Foundation is unique, bringing together Government and football to benefit communities and the grass roots of the game. It harnesses football’s ability to act as a delivery vehicle for social inclusion, health, education and motivational projects.

The Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) is a separate pot of money from the Premier League and The Football Association of just over £5m per year. Since July 2000 it has invested £100m into 1,087 projects (total project cost: £533m).

Combined FF and FSIF stats:

  •     8,108 projects
  •     Grants worth £468m
  •     Total project cost of £1.364bn
  •     Inward investment of £896m

Nationally since its launch July 2000 the Foundation has:

  •     supported 6,825 projects worth over £825m (FF Grants = £362m)
  •     secured £462m in additional inward investment
  •     delivered a £5 return on every £1 invested by each funding partner
  •     40% of funding is targeted at the top 20% most deprived wards
  •     kept bureaucracy to a minimum – since launch, have recovered all administration costs from interest earned on investments
  •     funded 1,329 facility projects worth £605m (£280m)
  •     funded 2,105 community projects worth £220m (£82m)
  •     funded 229 artificial turf pitches
  •     funded 480 changing facilities
  •     kitted out over 250,000 youngsters with free football strips
  •     secured £30m funding from Barclays Bank for a grass roots investment programme
  •     £34m worth of projects in the pipeline (£13.6m)

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Rory Carroll
Football Foundation
0845 345 4555 ext. 4280
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