Willenhall-based Sporting Khalsa Community Facilities Ltd. is pleased to announce that local grassroots sport will benefit from a major cash injection as part of a £1m transformation of the Aspray Arena.
This follows the news that they have been awarded a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.
The grant will enable the organisation, which was started in 1991 by a group of friends at a local Sikh temple, to replace their grass pitch with the first third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) for a non-league club in the Black Country area.
The new surface is expected to benefit Sporting Khalsa FC and a range of other users. Sporting Khalsa FC currently has 14 teams, both male and female, across a range of ages.
They hope to increase this number to 24, thanks to the upgrade. The club’s grass pitch was prone to ‘cutting up’ during games, almost to the point of being unplayable. The new surface will not pose the same problem, with the added benefit of not being at the mercy of the weather.
The club now has 16 male and female sides of different ages and the first team reached the quarter-finals of the FA Vase last season.
With the help of the Staffordshire FA, the club secured a £579,564 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation. The new 3G AGP will be part of a larger project to improve the Aspray Arena, which has also received £75,000 funding from Sport England.
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.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.
Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth nearly £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of just under £800m – over £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.
During the work – set to start in the autumn – the Sporting Khalsa first team will play their home matches at neighbours AFC Wulfrunians.
Inder Grewal, senior board member, Sporting Khalsa FC, said: “The revamp of the Aspray Arena is a really big step for us as a club, emphasising the ambition we have at Sporting Khalsa. We want to thank the Football Foundation, Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund and Sport England for realising our ambition and helping us to get this project off the ground.
“We would also like to thank AFC Wulfrunians, who have allowed us access to their pitch for our home matches, when works begin on our facility.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Congratulations should go to Sporting Khalsa for working with the Staffordshire FA to secure this Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund grant.
“Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded 255 grants worth £17.8m across Staffordshire towards grassroots sports projects worth nearly £34.2m, with money generously provided by our funders: the Premier League, The FA and the Government, via Sport England.”