De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has won £20,000 from the FA to become a football ‘super hub’, building strong sporting links throughout the local community.
The university is one of only 15 universities around the country to be awarded in this way, showing the commitment DMU has to be a force for public good.
The money will be used to fund a programme of football activities both across the university and throughout the community, working to increase opportunities for people to play, gain fitness and progress in the sport.
The goal of the programme will be to engage as many DMU students as possible in football, whether that is playing, refereeing, coaching or volunteering in the community. DMU is hoping to recruit a Football Development Officer, who will oversee the implementation of the scheme.
The funding will help fund new indoor, five-a-side men’s and women’s teams – known as futsal – and build more provision for women’s football.
DMU has already recently invested in new sports provisions, carrying out a £1 million revamp of The Watershed, off Upperton Road, as a play and training space. It has also completed the first phase of a £2 million project to provide high-quality 3G football pitches at Beaumont Park, to be used by DMU, Beaumont Town Football Club (BTFC) and the Beaumont Leys community.
The FA funding will also enable greater work within the community, funding new work with primary and secondary schools in the area, and with local groups to engage more 16 to 25-year-olds in the sport.
The Watershed building, the new home of DMU's sports teams and societies
The university is also looking to talk with the County FA to give students the opportunity of joining their refereeing programmes, and to help improve existing skills so students can officiate British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) matches.
Fiona Dick, DMU’s Sports Performance Manager, said there was huge demand for football at university, not just in the established teams, but in a social capacity.
She said: “We envisage being able to double the 11-aside league to 12 teams, and triple the 5-aside team, offer female futsal, create a female development squad, supporting more social forms of the game.
“We have well-established community engaged schemes here at DMU - DMU Square Mile and #DMULocal – and through these we will give students the opportunity to work in the community to coach local schoolchildren and host tournaments.”
FA Director of Participation and Development Kelly Simmons MBE said: “Universities have been playing a key role in supporting the FA get as many boys and girls as possible to play football and to give them a good introduction to the game.”
Posted on Tuesday 9th August 2016