Clubs across Northern Ireland have until noon this Friday (3 February) to submit expressions of interest in receiving financial support from a government-backed Grassroots Facilities Investment Fund.
The Irish Football Association and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Multi-Sports Grassroots Facilities Investment Fund aims to allow local grassroots football clubs in Northern Ireland to improve and upgrade facilities to create a better grassroots football infrastructure foundation.
Investment in creating the best possible multi-sports and grassroots football facilities enables young people to have the opportunity to reach their full potential in football, as well as providing the local community with access to facilities where they can participate in other sports and become healthy and active.
The UK Government has confirmed the allocation of a £230 million uplift to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for investment in football facilities across the UK. Read more on this here.
DCMS has committed to supporting grassroots football facility development in Northern Ireland up to March 2025. Phase 3 of the investment covers the financial year April 2023 to March 2024 with Phase 4 covering April 2024 to March 2025.
Two million pounds of capital funding has been secured for 2023-24, with a further £3.59 million of capital funding to be delivered in 2024-25. Projects to be supported will be selected for their ability to deliver improved facilities in deprived areas, support multi-sport use and increase participation among currently underrepresented groups, including women, girls and those with a disability.
The Irish FA/DCMS Multi-Sport Grassroots Facilities Investment Fund 2023-25 will be directed towards larger capital projects primarily focusing on the installation and improvement of natural grass or certified artificial grass pitches (AGP). Funding will support and be directed towards the installation of new or replacement natural grass surfaces, new or replacement artificial grass surfaces or new multi-use games areas (MUGA).
Associated pitch infrastructure will be considered for funding in addition to the pitch installation, eg changing rooms, floodlighting, fencing etc.
In order to understand the number, type and scale of projects which may come forward over the next two financial years the association is running an Expression of Interest (EOI) process. The EOI will gather crucial information on proposed projects at early stages of their development, identifying future investment possibilities. It is anticipated that applications for funding will be opened in February/March this year.
EOIs will close at 12 noon on Friday (3 February). The EOI form can be accessed via the link below.