“Landmark for national grassroots game”
Launch of FA/Football Foundation Local Football Facility Plan project. Two-year project delivers 300-plus reports identifying 5,000 community schemes.
The Football Foundation announcement of its intent to start implementing the recommendations set out in its local football facility plans (LFFPs) which cover the whole of England represents a landmark for the grassroots game, according to Knight, Kavanagh and Page (KKP), the consultancy practice that undertook the research and consultation, and wrote the plans upon which the project is based.
The announcement (made by the Football Foundation in association with the FA) on 19 November 2020 confirms their intent to react to and deliver the detailed programme of improvements to football facilities needed across every local authority area in England. The Football Foundation is now starting the task of working with local councils and other partners to put the proposals outlined in these plans into place.
David McHendry, KKP managing director, commented: “The announcement of the start of the implementation phase of the LFFP project represents the culmination of more than two years’ work by the team at KKP. Together the Football Foundation, the FA, the DCMS, the English Football League and the Premier League recognised the need for a concerted effort to improve grass pitches and increase the quantity and quality of artificial grass pitches and related facilities to sustain and develop football at community level. Commissioning KKP to prepare the report for each local authority area, delivering the extensive research, consultation, data collection and analysis required to underpin each report, was a reflection of the company’s expertise in this field and our experience producing playing pitch strategies. It was a major undertaking that KKP was pleased to be part of and we are delighted that implementation has begun.”
KKP delivered 318 local football facility plans, a process that involved contact with all the local authorities involved and more than 2,000 grassroots football clubs, along with a whole range of stakeholders and interested parties. More than 5,000 individual projects have been identified, including the improvement of grass pitches, installation of new football turf pitches, redeveloping club houses and building new small-sided football facilities.
Andrew Fawkes, KKP’s project manager for this assignment, commented: “KKP’s approach to preparing each plan was based on developing trusted relationships with the football partners, the crucial element of club consultation, and the compilation of comprehensive reliable data. Assessing the outcome potential, quality and opportunity offered by each project was reliant on our consultants co-ordinating a wealth of site-specific knowledge. In addition numerous face-to-face and telephone interviews ensured the full engagement of all stakeholders, while KKP’s geographic information systems (GIS) team mapped demographic and participation data to underpin the process.”
Robert Sullivan, interim chief executive of the Football Foundation, commented: “After two years of hard work, every local authority has an agreed list of specific pitches and clubhouses to build or improve in their area. These local football facility plans are the road map to a transformation in how every player enjoys our national game. Our next challenge is to work together – as a team at the local and national level – to secure the necessary funding and deliver these projects.”