A new state-of-the-art changing pavilion which will support 100 new footballers at Roade FC over the next five years was officially opened by Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire, and Millwall striker, Steve Morison on Saturday (29 June).
The pavilion was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation and additional funding from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the sister organisation of the Football Foundation.
After netting a £237,330 grant from the Football Foundation and £50,000 from the FSIF, work begun on the site in November 2018. The club also received £75,000 from South Northamptonshire Council and the new community building will ensure Roade FC can continue to thrive as a community hub.
The funding enabled Roade FC, who play at Step 7 in the Northants Combination Football League, to build a spacious new pitch-side changing pavilion to enhance the matchday experience of players and match officials. The new facility will also provide a more hospitable environment for spectators and visitors, ensuring a stronger, sustainable football club at the centre of the local community
The new facility, which enjoys under-floor heating, comprises of four changing rooms, two officials’ rooms, dedicated shower and toilet facilities and a kitchen providing match-day catering. This has replaced the old changing rooms within the clubhouse which were in poor condition and lacked the space and facilities needed for multi-team and mixed gender use.
Roade FC’s history goes back to at least 1910, and football has been played on the Connolly Way site since 1956. Currently, the club’s playing membership exceeds 240 players, with demand having risen considerably as a result of the extensive new housing developments within the village of Roade and the surrounding catchment area. In addition to its adult men’s and women’s teams, the junior section is very strong with 13 teams covering every age group from Under-7 to Under-16.
As one of the largest community football clubs in the area, Roade FC worked alongside Northamptonshire County FA to address potential areas of growth. It is anticipated that the new pavilion will support an additional six teams playing football at the site over the next five years. This will in turn support over 100 new affiliated players, of which 40 will be competing in girls’ teams.
John Blackmar, Chairman, Roade FC, said: “I would like to thank the Rt Hon. Andrea Leadsom (MP for South Northamptonshire) and Steve Morison for opening this fabulous new changing pavilion which will be appreciated by all players at the club, young and old. It represents what is undoubtedly the most significant investment in the club’s facilities since the move to the current site in the 1950’s, and one that was made possible by the generous support of the Football Foundation and Football Stadia Improvement Fund.”
Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “It’s fantastic news that Roade FC have been able to build a new changing pavilion at their home ground, with help from Premier League funding. The pavilion will undoubtedly support an improved experience for everyone associated with the club and within the local community and I’m sure it will have a longstanding legacy.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The support of the Premier League, The FA and government enables the Football Foundation to help improve community sports facilities like this one across the country. Their funding has played a key role in delivering this new changing pavilion in Northamptonshire and I am delighted for everyone associated with Roade FC.
“This is one example we want to make people in Northamptonshire aware of, that they have the kind of quality pitches and changing rooms that are taken for granted in other counties. We will continue to support projects nationwide, but we cannot do this on our own, so we are encouraging organisations in the area to join our movement to deliver quality football facilities for people in Northamptonshire once and for all.
“Taking part in community sport at any level offers many benefits and rewards, not least the opportunity for people to enjoy themselves and socialise with different members of the community.”