Additional funding has been granted to UCLan to support its University Grassroots Hub for three more years.
A total of £60,000 was committed by the Football Association (FA), in partnership with British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), for UCLan’s grassroots football development until July 2020.
UCLan became a Grassroots Hub, formerly a FA community Hub, in 2013 after teaming up with the Lancashire County Football Association.
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Since then the hub has worked with local community groups on several successful projects to increase sports participation in the community, especially in underrepresented groups.
UCLan Football Development Officer, Cian McEvoy, is funded through the scheme, and has worked with community partners Kemple View Mental Mealth Hospital and Creative Support’s Blackburn Social Inclusion Service to arrange football tournaments promoting positive mental health and social inclusion.
Cian McEvoy said: “Through my role I’ve been involved in a lot of projects that utilise sport to benefit many different people from the local community in a variety of ways.
“I am delighted that the FA has recognised this and provided further funding that will allow UCLan to work closely with local partners on initiatives to improve both physical and mental well-being through sport.”
The University’s Grassroots Hub programme has helped to develop the Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Centre, in partnership with UCLan Students’ Union.
It has grown from a charity providing football coaching for four to 16-year-olds, including disabled children, into a full functioning club with several age group teams, and was acknowledged for its community contribution with a royal visit from HRH Prince Harry last year.
Based at UCLan Sports Arena, the centre also has two women’s open age teams, an adult men’s team, four disabled men’s teams and football coaching sessions for homeless people.
Pete Mason, Chair of the Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Centre, said: “The Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Centre and FC has benefited from the services of Cian McEvoy in his role as the Football Development Officer.
“The charity has also benefited from additional UCLan students giving up their time as volunteers, many as coaches, to the advantage of the Preston community.
“We have numerous UCLan volunteers assisting with our adult pan disability, refugee and asylum seeker, young disability and able-bodied 4 – 16-year groups as well as in our football teams aged 7 – 14-years, without whom we would struggle to provide the service we do to the wider community.
“In return, the UCLan students benefit greatly from their exposure to volunteering in the community.
“Now that funding has been secured for a further three years for Cian’s post, we will be looking to build on what has been a successful year and developing our offering of football coaching and the opportunities for experiential learning to the UCLan students.”
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UCLan also helped to arrange the UK’s first ever women’s walking football tournament in July last year to mark 100th anniversary of the Dick, Kerr Ladies football team.
Looking to the future of the Hub, UCLan will aim to continue the growth and development of the Hub’s workforce, by providing high standard, realistic football coaching and volunteering opportunities to UCLan students.
Do you know UCLan’s Grassroots hub? What do you think about the funding? Let us know in the comments below