Sheffield gets the first glimpse of future grassroots football
The FA’s ground-breaking plan to revitalise grassroots football across England is set for lift-off with the first state-of-art multi-pitch community football hub opening its doors to the Sheffield public this week.
The Parklife Football Hub Programme pilot is funded by The FA, Sheffield City Council and the Department for Culture Media and Sport in partnership with Sport England. The Premier League has committed funding to support the roll out of future hubs.
The hub, which is located to the south of the city will be known as St George’s Park (SGP) Sheffield Graves.
A second pilot hub, SGP Sheffield Thorncliffe, to the north of the city, will open in one month. The hubs will serve as a focal point for grassroots football activity in the local area and offer greater access to player and coach development opportunities.
Local clubs and schools are the immediate beneficiaries and teams that will host home games from Graves have received an early taste of what is to come during pre-season training.
"Make no mistake, these hubs are the start of something big," said Martin Glenn, The FA’s chief executive.
"The Sheffield centres mark the beginning of the end of a story all-too-familiar to the grassroots footballer of poor pitches, woefully inadequate changing facilities and a battle against the elements to get fixtures completed each winter.
"The FA alongside the DCMS, the Premier League and local partners will be investing £200m to replicate this model across the country with momentum already starting to grow."
SGP Sheffield Graves and SGP Sheffield Thorncliffe will host league matches for up to five resident clubs played on state-of-the-art 3G artificial grass pitches (AGPs) – which will combat the inevitable disruption caused by frozen and waterlogged surfaces during the harsh winter months.
Further hubs are planned in the city, with planning applications being considered for similar hubs in Liverpool and west London.