NEW PAVILION: Crick’s community sports centre officially opened

Former Premier League referee, Peter Walton, Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry cutting the ribbon
Former Premier League referee, Peter Walton, Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry cutting the ribbon

Plaque in memory of Wilf Simms, Crick Athletic FC’s secretary for 50 years

Chris Heaton Harris, MP for Daventry and former Premier League referee, Peter Walton, opened a new £339,505 changing pavilion in Crick last Sunday (June 12). The project was made possible thanks to a £201,123 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant has enabled Crick Athletic FC and Crick Parish Council to construct a new changing pavilion, comprising: two team changing rooms; two officials’ rooms; function room, kitchen, spectator toilet facilities and storage. This replaces the prefabricated modular cabin facilities the club were using previously.

Local MP Chris Heaton-Harris – a fully qualified football referee who has been officiating the game at different levels for over 32 years – had also visited the club back in October 2015 to present a Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund cheque, as works at the site got underway.

The Football Foundation worked in partnership with the Northamptonshire FA, Crick Athletic FC and Crick Parish Council to put together a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision for how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on participation.

Crick AFC currently has 14 teams including Under-7s to Under-18s, a girls’ team, two adult teams and an Under-6s development squad. It is hoped that this number will increase to 20 teams by the end of the Plan, including another girls’ team.

The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 14,000 grants worth more than £560m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £787m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000 the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 178 grants worth £7.4m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £15.2m across the whole of Northamptonshire.

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.

Paul Lane, Chairman of Crick Athletic FC: “I would like to thank Peter Walton and Chris Heaton-Harris for opening the new changing pavilion at Crick Community Sports Centre. Crick Athletic FC has benefitted from support from the Football Foundation and Northamptonshire FA over the last four years as the club has developed the new sports facility. The support for the new changing rooms from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has been tremendous and enabled the changing rooms to be constructed. This on going support has enabled the club to grow and increase its junior players by 40% as well as introducing girls’ football and also walking football as well as maintain two adult senior teams.”

Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry, said: “I was delighted to officially open the new changing pavilion with former Premier League referee, Peter Walton, at Crick Athletic Football Club. It was a real pleasure to be back on site after I previously visited the club in October 2015.

“The completed works look fantastic, and the facilities will certainly have a big impact on the playing experiences of all 14 Crick AFC teams. With the help of Northamptonshire FA and the Football Foundation, the club can look forward to increasing the number of teams they run thanks to the extensive five-year Football Development Plan.

“Sporting facilities like this one in Daventry are so important to the health and well-being of the country, therefore I must thank the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, and everyone involved with the project, for their hard work in making this changing pavilion a reality.”

Peter Walton, former Premier League referee, said: “The new pavilion at Crick Athletic FC is going to make a significant difference to the experiences of both the players and the officials. Having refereed many grassroots games I know how vital having the correct facilities is to people’s enjoyment of the sport.

“I very much enjoyed opening the facility alongside Chris Heaton-Harris MP, and would like to thank everyone involved with the project for their efforts. I look forward to seeing the club go from strength to strength as a result of this funding.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Crick Athletic Football Club and Crick Parish Council to upgrade their changing rooms. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area.

“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.

“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This latest project in Daventry is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love if it and to stay healthy.”