Wiltshire Football Association (FA) is bringing football to the centre of Wiltshire with the development of a new facility in Devizes, the town situated right at the heart of the county.
The £1.7 million project, funded by various partners including Wiltshire FA, The FA, Devizes Town Council and the Football Foundation, aims to improve quality and access to football facilities in Wiltshire.
Mark Young, Football Development Manager at Wiltshire FA said, “Sustainable football facilities are fundamental to the support and development of the nation’s game. The new facility in Devizes is centrally located in the county and will offer more opportunities for players all year round. It is obviously great for existing participants, but we really hope the new facility will inspire more people to get involved in the game - perhaps those who have recently lost interest and some that have never engaged with the game before.”
The new football hub will be home to two local clubs - Bishops Cannings Youth FC and Devizes Town Youth FC. It is also hoped that Devizes Town FC will use the facility as a training base. Wiltshire FA will also use the facility to deliver a diverse range of community sessions and educational courses.
Mikey Harford, Chairman of Bishops Cannings Youth FC said, “Green Lane has been our home for a long time, and we are really excited about the creation of these state of the art facilities, it’s going to be an iconic facility for Devizes, and will help us be at the heart of the community moving forward.”
Nathan Sheridan, Chairman of Devizes Town Youth FC said, “This is going to be fantastic facility for our community – it has been a long time coming. Devizes has so much sports participation potential. We’ve seen a huge boom in participation at our club over last few months – there is a real buzz amongst the community.”
Aside from housing the partner clubs, the new building will also house offices for the Wiltshire FA.
Oliver Selfe, CEO at Wiltshire FA said, “The relocation of Wiltshire FA offices to Devizes represent a significant moment in the history of our organisation. It will enable the us to deliver education courses and football intervention programmes on site and will allow us to better serve the entire football community in Wiltshire. This will strengthen our social and economic impact in the county and will support our vision to ‘Unite the community to provide football for all’.”
Earlier this year, The FA released a report stating the social and economic value of grassroots football in Wiltshire is around £121m, based on the amount of football played in the county.
The new football facility in Devizes will give Wiltshire FA, and the local partners an opportunity to increase participation across the grassroots game. Wiltshire FA are keen to work with all stakeholders, both in the public and private sector, to continue to use the power of grassroots football to contribute to the local economy and health and wellbeing agenda.
Devizes Town Council have been critical to moving this project forward as well as contributing capital, they currently hold security of tenure for Green Lane Playing Fields , Simon Fisher said, "It has been a long time coming for Devizes but we are excited that at last work can get underway for the new sports hub. We wanted to be part of the project and see the huge opportunities and benefits for our local people.”
In summary, Chairman of Wiltshire FA, Clive Archer said, “I would like to thank The FA, the Football Foundation and Devizes Town Council for their financial support. I would also like to acknowledge the team of partners/contractors who have worked together to help get this ambitious to this stage.”
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