Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Go-ahead for Sheffield FA grassroots football plans

Artist impression of Graves Leisure Centre, Sheffield Image copyright Sheffield city council
Image caption The grassroots football hub at Graves will have two artificial pitches, an adult grass pitch and changing facilities

Sheffield is to get the country's first FA-funded grassroots football "hubs", the council has announced.

New facilities at Graves Leisure Centre will include floodlit artificial pitches, changing facilities and an education room.

The Football Association (FA) pledged £9.6m for Sheffield's footballing hubs in November.

Thorncliffe Recreation Ground in the north of the city is also due to benefit from the FA investment.

Paul Billington, from the council, said it was the city's "biggest ever single investment in outdoor sports facilities", and that it would "significantly improve the quality of grassroots football provision in Sheffield".

Funding will mostly come from the FA and local and national bodies, with the council contributing £1m.

Image copyright Grace Parnell
Image caption Graves Leisure centre became a Sports Medicine Hub in 2012 and is undergoing a separate £16m redevelopment

Similar proposals for a hub at Thorncliffe are due before the planning committee in late Spring, the council said.

A separate £16m leisure development next to the existing Graves tennis centre, with a six-lane swimming pool, indoor tennis courts and new gym halls, is expected to open next summer.

Sheffield is home to League One club Sheffield United and Championship club Sheffield Wednesday, as well as Sheffield FC which is thought to be the world's oldest football club and is currently in the Northern Premier League Division One.

The council previously said both the Graves and Thorncliffe hubs could open in 2016 with the investment continuing in 29 other locations around the country after Sheffield.

Image copyright Geograph
Image caption Thorncliffe Recreation Ground in High Green - including an artificial pitch, grass pitches and changing pavilion

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