The BBC’s Dan Walker has become the Football Foundation’s latest signing after he agreed to become one of its ambassadors.
Walker joins the growing list of friends of the Foundation, the country’s leading sports charity, that includes Gary Neville, Ben Shephard, Dion Dublin, Graham Taylor, Faye White and Peter Beardsley.
The Football Focus presenter said: “I am thrilled to become an ambassador for the Football Foundation.
“The grassroots is so important to our national game and the volunteers that give up their weekends so people of all ages and abilities can play for the love of it.
“They deserve all the help they can get – and decent pitches and facilities.”
And Walker wasted no time in getting out and about to promote how Foundation partners’ funding is supporting the millions of grassroots players and volunteers at the community football level.
He presented a cheque for £150,000 of Foundation funding to Sheffield City Council which will help to develop a brand new floodlit third generation artificial grass pitch (AGP) in North West Sheffield, at the Wisewood Sports Centre. The two partner junior teams, Wisewood and Sheffield Sixes, will be two of the many clubs to benefit from the new pitch which will be managed by the newly-created Forge Valley School.
Lesley Whittington, Sheffield City Councillor and Senior Project Manager, said: “This project will make use of what would otherwise be a derelict former school site, involving several partners to provide a facility for activities that will raise participation in the area.
“We are extremely grateful for the grant awarded to us by the Football Foundation.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “Sheffield City Council has been extremely energetic and has worked tirelessly in partnership with the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA to secure this funding, and I am thrilled to see their hard work rewarded with this substantial Football Foundation grant.
“We are especially delighted to welcome Dan Walker as an ambassador – and as a Sheffield resident it was a particularly fitting first visit to present a cheque on behalf of the Foundation towards developing a stunning new 3G surface at the Wisewood Sports Centre.
“The Foundation is committed to supporting projects like this one in Sheffield and right across the country.”
Since it was launched in 2000, the Football Foundation has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.
The Football Foundation funds the development of better community sports facilities with money provided by The FA, the Premier League and government (via Sport England).