Fifteen Community Champions were honoured at a House of Lords Reception on Wednesday for their outstanding contributions at Barclays Spaces for Sports facilities in their communities.
Every region across the country have a Community Champions representative who were selected from the hundreds of people, over half of which are volunteers, that give up their time to run Barclays Spaces for Sports facilities.
Hosted by talkSPORT presenter Georgie Bingham, the reception saw Football Foundation Ambassadors Dion Dublin, who led a panel discussion on the importance of local, quality sports facilities, former England Manager, Graham Taylor, Southampton’s FA Cup winning boss, Lawrie McMenemy and former Wimbledon, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur defender, John Scales attend to heap praise on the champions for their tireless work, which enables local communities to have access to quality sports facilities.
The Community Champions represent individuals responsible for: coaching; grounds maintenance; first aid; catering; governance; office administration; fund raising and mentoring across a range of sports including: football; tennis; cricket; skateboarding; dodgeball; basketball and BMX biking.
Barclays Spaces for Sports is the UK’s largest ever sports-based corporate social responsibility programme. Launched in 2004 it saw international bank Barclays partner with the Football Foundation to develop 204 multi-sports sites in disadvantaged communities right across the country.
The investment into the Barclays Spaces for Sports facilities programme in the UK was £67m. The sites built as a result play host to more than 30 different kinds of sport and are used by over 88,000 people every week with participation, not sporting excellence, the key ethos.
The Foundation’s Grant Managers have worked with every site to produce a Sustainability Plan. This incorporates a business plan to ensure sufficient revenue to run the site, without having to rely on local authority or any other subsidy and also a sports development plan to ensure the facility is used to its maximum. Now, more than 75% of the facilities are long-term financially sustainable.
Paulette Cohen, Director, Global Programmes at Barclays, said: “Support from volunteers within the community has been, and will continue to be, key to the success of all our Barclays Spaces for Sports sites. Thanks to the hard work of the hundreds of other people who help run our facilities, more than 200 sites are providing people of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to build their skills and fulfil their potential.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of The Football Foundation, said: “More than 88,000 people are now using Barclays Spaces for Sports sites across the UK every week, thanks to investment provided by Barclays and the Football Foundation since 2004. Tonight’s Reception showcased the lasting sports infrastructure legacy that this partnership has created for hundreds of the most deprived communities across the country.
“It is important that sites that have received considerable initial investment over the last 11 years remain financially sustainable throughout their usable life, so they do not require local authority or any other subsidy to maintain them. This is made possible through the work of the Football Foundation’s Grant Managers, who have helped to develop an individually tailored Sustainability Plan for each site. But it is also thanks to the tremendous work of the 15 Community Champions and the hundreds of others like them who are so critical to grassroots sports throughout the country.”
Find your nearest Barclays Spaces for Sport site here: barclays.com/findyourspaceforsport