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Brand new sports pavilion in Doncaster replaces 60-year-old changing rooms

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Bawtry Action for Recreation & Sport’s state-of-the-art community sports pavilion was officially opened by Councillor Ros Jones, the Mayor of Doncaster, recently.

Their brand new facility was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant enabled Bawtry Action for Recreation & Sport, to install the new pavilion at the Memorial Sports Ground – which has been hosting local football for almost 100 years. The organisation worked closely with local club Bawtry JFC, which plays in the Doncaster and District Junior Sunday Football League and Sheffield and Hallamshire Girls League, to make the project a success.

The new facility replaces the site’s previous changing pavilion, which was over 60-years-old and no longer able to support users as a result. Prior to the project, users had access to two changing rooms, a shared shower room, a small meeting space and external toilets on-site.

The new community sports pavilion, however, provides: three team changing rooms with access to separate shower and toilet facilities; two officials’ changing rooms, also with separate washroom facilities; a large function room; an office; a kitchen and spectator toilets. Bawtry Action for Sport & Recreation, a local charity that will oversee the running of the new facility, is delighted with the project.

This state-of-the-art pavilion is set to benefit a number of local grassroots sport organisations including Bawtry JFC, Bawtry Town FC, who play in Division One of the Doncaster & District Senior League, Bawtry Cricket Club and Bawtry Bowling Club. The local community will also have access to the pavilion, with weekly community fitness classes taking place in the pavilion’s function room.

Bawtry Action for Sport & Recreation, alongside Bawtry JFC, were awarded a £99,685 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project. They worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.

Bawtry JFC, which currently has more than 150 players, will use the facility to support them in creating even stronger pathways into adult football for its players. Between Bawtry JFC and Bawtry Town FC, it is expected that four new teams will be introduced. This will take their combined total of sides from 14 to 18, and supports the predicted 39% boost in football participation for the 14-25 age bracket.

Additionally, the junior club currently has 25 female players and hopes to encourage more local girls to get involved in the sport from a young age though their Mini-Kickers programme. This, as well as plans for a new girls’ Under-14 team, is expected to result in a 52% rise for on-site female football participation.

Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England. It develops new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded over 17,000 grants worth more than £615m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of £817m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 334 grants worth £12.5m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £26.4m across the whole of Sheffield and Hallamshire.

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.

Sandy Young, Chair of Bawtry Action for Recreation & Sport, said: “I’d like to thank Mayor Ros Jones, who officially opened the new community pavilion, in addition to acknowledging the considerable support of funding bodies including the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund who were one of the largest project funders. The fact that children can now get changed in the warm and get a hot shower after playing in a safe environment is great for team morale and ensuring young people keep turning up on a winter’s morning.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Grassroots sport plays an important role in communities across the UK, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am delighted that Bawtry Action for Recreation & Sport has now opened their state-of-the-art community sports pavilion, thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

“Continuing to improve access to high-quality facilities like this one is a key aim for the Premier League, The FA and the Government. Delivered by the Football Foundation, their funding supports projects for clubs and organisations all over the country and is helping to boost the number of people benefiting from sport through better facilities.

“Grassroots football provides so many benefits for members of the community, not least of which is the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Love for our national game, something that can be found across the country, is an integral part of what drives the Foundation and its Funding Partners to keep increasing the standards and quality of our facilities.”