New Community Sports Hub Unveiled at Winstanley Warriors FC

Lancashire FA support grant towards new facility

Shaun Burke, Lancashire FA Facilities & Investment Officer and Alan Greenhalgh, Lancashire FA Council member for the Divisional Area of St Helens, Wigan and Warrington, were on hand to see Winstanley Warriors FC's community sports hub officially opened on Friday 3rd November.

Former Wigan Athletic player Emmerson Boyce and MP for Makerfield Yvonne Fovargue unveiled the facilities, which include a new all-weather pitch and upgraded changing pavilion.

The project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

Winstanley Warriors FC worked alongside Lancashire FA and the Football Foundation 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. 

This helped to secure the £418,714 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. 

The grant has enabled Winstanley Warriors FC to install a new floodlit third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) and refurbish their existing changing pavilion. The new 3G AGP, which caters for 7v7 and small-sided play, is in addition to the club’s three existing full-size grass pitches, 9v9 grass pitch and a training area. 

The project enables the club to provide safe and effective training all-year-round, even in bad weather. As a result, a 121% increase in football participation across all ages is expected at the upgraded site. 

The pitches and changing pavilion, which comprises two refurbished team changing rooms and a large officials’ room, will be used by the club’s 28 teams ranging from the Under-7 level upwards. Local clubs and schools, including the Hope SEN School and Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School, will also be able to use the facilities. 

Winstanley Warriors FC has close ties with Wigan Athletic FC, with players having been scouted by the Latics in the past. The Wigan Athletic Community Trust will take advantage of the facilities at the upgraded sports hub, to deliver a range of community outreach programmes. These will include ‘Every Player Counts’ sessions for disabled pupils from local schools, helping them to get involved and enjoy football, and Premier League Kicks. 

The site will be used to hold Walking Football and Mini-Soccer development sessions. Additionally, the facility will be used as a venue for the Lancashire FA’s Girls United programme, for the Under-5 to Under-9 level, helping to create female player pathways into adult football. 

It is expected that the club will introduce three new girls’ teams, including an open age side. They also hope to establish two male open age sides, two disability open age sides and a Veterans’ team, which will help to boost football participation in those over the age of 26 by 311% at the site. 

Roger De Nobrega, Chief Executive of Lancashire FA, said: "Lancashire FA worked tirelessly in supporting the club to secure a £418,714 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

"This facility will enable the club to continue to grow and provide a community football facility for all age groups from U7s to Adults.

"We are delighted to see yet another excellent facility being opened here in Lancashire with the support of the Football Foundation, and we will be working hard to support many more schemes like this and attract as much investment into Lancashire FA affiliated clubs as possible."

Yvonne Fovargue, MP for Makerfield, said: "My thanks go to Winstanley Warriors FC for inviting me to help open their new all-weather pitch and improved changing provision.

"It is excellent to see the new facilities already in use – a real boost for grassroots sport in the area. It is great news that the improvements made to the sports hub is going to increase football participation by 121% across all ages.

“The club have worked really hard to make this project a success, with the support of the Football Foundation – funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England. The Foundation delivers great facilities like this all over the country, and I’m sure that this one is going to encourage local people to get involved in sport and enjoy themselves." 

Emmerson Boyce, Wigan Athletic FC’s FA Cup winning captain and a Trustee of Wigan Athletic Community Trust, said: "It’s great to have been asked to unveil this new sports hub for the Winstanley Warriors.

"This is exactly the kind of facility that helps people discover their love of the game, and I know the club will really benefit from the all-weather pitch and better changing provision. 

"I’m also pleased that the Latics are going to be using the hub to hold sessions for the community here, which will help lots of local people to find new opportunities through grassroots football. My thanks goes to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which has made this possible."

Shaun Rotherham, Chairman of Winstanley Warriors FC, said: "Firstly I would like to thank our MP, Yvonne Fovargue, and Emmerson Boyce for officially opening the facility, and the three local councillors and Wigan Council for all their support in making it happen. I would also like to thank my Executive Committee, Lee Glynn, Jim McGarrigan and Barry Foster for all their help in keeping us going in the early days of the application.

"Our main thank you however has to be to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, for the fantastic grant to enable us to create this new facility that will improve grassroots football and create many new children’s teams in this area."

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: "The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides the investment necessary to improve grassroots football facilities. So, I am delighted to see Winstanley Warriors FC join thousands of local clubs who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of their upgraded sports hub. My thanks got to Emmerson Boyce and Yvonne Fovargue MP for officially unveiling the facility. 

"Having delivered over £1.4bn of grassroots sports infrastructure projects, the Football Foundation has developed a network of accessible, first-class facilities in areas they will have the greatest impact – thanks to money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England. 

"These facilities are more than places to play football at, these facilities are hubs of physical activity, the bedrock of local communities and ‘homes from home’ for so many who also use them as social outlets to learn new skills, gain work experience and other qualifications."

Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England. It develops new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth more than £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game. 

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 472 grants worth £13.7m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £32m across the whole of Lancashire. 

By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game. Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.

For further information and advice on facilities and grants in Lancashire, please contact Shaun Burke at shaun.burke@lancashirefa.com.