Date: 3rd November 2015 at 3:18pm
Written by:

The Football Foundation and Barclays: building spaces for you to play sport for the last 11 years.

We bet you’ve played on one because Barclays Spaces for Sports sites are absolutely everywhere. 204 across the country to be precise, so there is a good chance there is one near you and your mates. If you haven’t played at one already – what are you waiting for? Get down to one now, just read a bit more of this first! Lots more cool stuff to find out below.

The Football Foundation and Barclays have been building shiny new facilities for the last 11 years and with more than 53,000 people, just like you, using them every week, we thought it would be a great excuse to throw a celebration. After all, more than half of people who help to run these sites are volunteers – people who have dedicated their time, for free, to make sure youngsters like you can enjoy regular sport.

We know you’ll agree that is something worth celebrating.

So, where were we? Oh that’s right, these facilities are good. Seriously good. You can play football at them but there are also lots of opportunities to get involved in other sports too and maybe even gain a qualification of some kind – imagine how impressed your teachers would be with that. In fact, last year alone 82 courses were held at these sites with 786 people gaining a qualification in the process.

Sites vary from football pitches and tennis courts, to baseball batting cages and climbing walls. Amazingly, there are more than 30 different types of sport on offer.

That is why the likes of ex-Wimbledon Tennis Champ Pat Cash, NBA star Shaun Livingston and even top actors like Idris Elba have all visited Barclays facilities over the years to find out more about what makes them such a pull for youngsters. If it’s good enough for them, right?

Idris Elba 2

Actor Idris Elba at one of they Barclays pitches

Basically, 11 years ago Barclays – you know, the big bank – came to the Football Foundation, who as you already know are totally awesome at building new sports facilities, and asked us to help them to build even more. We agreed, obviously (who doesn’t want more places to practice your skills?) and even donated some of our own money to help.

Ok, brace yourself, the Football Foundation and Barclays have invested a massive £67m into building these new facilities. Impressive, right?

All this money means that we have funded projects in areas that needed it most and where the greatest number of people will be able to play. Legendary Manchester United goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel said as much when he visited the Old Trafford Sports Barn.

“Sites like this are hugely important in providing opportunities for young people. Barclays and the Football Foundation deserve real credit for their work over the last decade,” said the five-time Premier League winner.

Barclays 9851

Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel backs the project

Similarly, Alan Shearer, all-time Premier League top scorer with a stonking 260 goals, said that Barclays Spaces for Sports is creating a legacy for the future. Thanks to the Foundation more than 75% of the sites are ‘sustainable’ – meaning they will continue to give sporting opportunities to people for years to come.

Newcastle’s all-time leading scorer, said: “Barclays’ vision, combined with the expertise of the Football Foundation means the impact of the sites is much wider than simply sport.’’

Right, so the first task is for you to get out and find your nearest Barclays Spaces for Sports site and have a kick around or take part in a new sport. The second challenge is for you to check back here at the end of the month when we’ll have pictures from the night, including special mentions for the volunteers who make it all possible.

Find your nearest Barclays Spaces for Sport site here:

Twitter: @FootballFoundtn

Brought to you by Shoot!