A charity part-funded by the Premier League and its super-rich football giants like Liverpool and Manchester United has awarded a £2,500 grant to help Keswick AFC bounce back from coronavirus.
The local football club will use the money to prepare its junior and senior pitches at Fitz Park for the return of grassroots matches at a date still to be decided. During lockdown, Keswick’s teams have been unable to play, leaving the club with a gaping hole in its finances.
The pitch preparation fund grant is being made by the Football Foundation, a charity financed by the Premier League, the FA and the Government through Sport England. It is the largest sports charity in the UK.
Martin Thwaites, secretary of Keswick AFC, said: “This Football Foundation funding is crucial to the club at a time when we have no income but ongoing costs and in particular allows us to improve the juniors’ pitch in Fitz Park, which is used by a huge number of children and youth players from the local area.”
Keswick have two men’s teams who play in the Westmorland League, a women’s team in the Cumberland FA Women’s League and junior teams in the Penrith & District League.
The funding will allow the club to prepare its two full-size pitches so they are match-fit for when it is safe to play football again. The grant can be used towards the cost of materials and work, including draining, rolling, seeding, fertilising and cutting. Like other clubs, it has already been given access to the Football Foundation groundskeeping community, which is a free online resource developed with The FA and the Grounds Management Association containing advice and guidance.
Robert Sullivan, interim chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This is a vital grant to help Keswick AFC get their pitches match-fit. The Premier League, the FA and government’s Football Foundation exists to help provide quality infrastructure at the lower-levels of the game. Pitch preparation fund grants like this one are giving a helping hand to clubs across the country to get their playing surfaces ready for when the game is allowed to begin again following government advice.”
The Football Foundation, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, promotes quality facilities for everyone to enable better games and to attract more players. It receives money from the Premier League, the FA and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Since 2000, it has awarded more than 17,300 grants to improve facilities worth more than £684 million, including 829 artificial grass pitches and 3,175 natural ones. With partnership funding, the investment in grassroots football so far is more than £1.5 billion.