Sports Minister and Karen Lumley MP unveil stunning grassroots football hub in Worcestershire

The official opening of Redditch United FC’s new all-weather pitch and changing room pavilion by Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch MP and Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch.
Picture by Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd 07813022858

Tracey Crouch MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch, officially unveiled Redditch United FC’s new grassroots football hub at the Trico Stadium today (Thursday 9 March 2017).

The state-of- the-art floodlit all-weather pitch and revamped changing rooms are projected to create 17 new local teams and will also enable Redditch United to bring all of their 38 teams ‘home’ to one venue.

The project was made partly possible thanks to a £561,650 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund (PL/FA:FF), which is delivered by the Football Foundation. The Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) – the Football Foundation’s sister organisation – also invested £88,166 into the project.

In addition to the Redditch teams, which include the Southern League Premier Division club’s Academy run in conjunction with Bournville College, the all-weather pitch is also home to Birmingham City Ladies FC, who will run their Regional Talent Club from the West Midlands site.

Additionally the Albion Foundation, the charitable arm of local Premier League side West Bromwich Albion FC, will use the pitch to deliver programmes for their Player Development Centre, which works with youngsters aged 6-11. The Albion Foundation will also hold coaching camps during school holidays at the Redditch facility, aimed at participants of all abilities ranging from 4-14-years-old.

During the project’s planning, Redditch United FC worked alongside the Birmingham FA and Football Foundation to compile a five-year Football Development Plan (FDP). This is a long-term vision for how sport will be played on-site, with forecasts predicting that eight new girls’ teams and a small-sided adults’ football league will be formed thanks to the new facilities.

The FSIF has awarded Redditch United FC grants totalling £265,936 over the past 15 years to help fund a number of infrastructure developments at the Trico Stadium. These include improvements to their pitch drainage, perimeter fencing and terraced stands.

The PL/FA:FF provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. It 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 £800m – over £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 427 grants worth £26m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £61m across the whole of Birmingham. This local investment has covered 28 all-weather pitches, 42 room changing pavilions and 79 natural grass pitch improvements.

Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport, said: “Good facilities, like this one in Redditch, help encourage people to play sport and gain from the physical, social and mental benefits participation brings. This facility shows what can be achieved when the Government, Premier League and The FA work together in partnership.

“Our joint investment into pitches and changing facilities will not just help increase the numbers of people playing the game but also the amount of youngsters gaining coaching and refereeing qualifications.”

Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch, said: “This all-weather pitch will prove a tremendous asset to the local community, and it’s great to see youngsters already making the most of the new facilities. It’s vital people right across the country are given the opportunity to play sport and stay healthy in safe and accessible environments, and this new football hub will provide exactly that.

“I’d like to thank the club for all their hard work in getting this facility here today, and so too the support and investment of the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which has enabled this fantastic project to take place.”

Redditch United Chairman Chris Swan said: “We are exceedingly grateful to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for their substantial contribution to our project and the help they have given us along the way.

This investment in grassroots football helps us to reach out to the Redditch community – not only through our many junior and disabled sides that see nearly 1,000 youngsters turning out for the club each week, but also through our popular soccer coaching camps during the holidays.

“I would also like to say a massive thank you to the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch for making the day such a success and also to our own MP Karen Lumley who is a long-time supporter of the football club and what we are looking to achieve.”

Richard Holmes, Worcestershire Development Officer for The Albion Foundation, said: “It’s great to see the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund being used to provide such a high quality facility that will no doubt benefit sport in the area, not only for the club and first team at Redditch United FC, but also for community groups and clubs in the local area.

“Thanks to the Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch MP and Karen Lumley MP for officially unveiling this great facility. I’m looking forward to seeing the development of football in the area as a result.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted that a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund has enabled Redditch United FC to build a fantastic new grassroots football hub. This development will provide a real boost to sport in the local area and I would like to thank the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch MP and Karen Lumley MP for officially unveiling the new facility.

“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has supported grassroots projects worth more than £1.4bn, investing into areas where the need is greatest and where it will have the biggest impact in terms of getting more people playing football and a wide range of other sports.

“With this funding, provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, we are helping to improve community sports facilities across the country and thereby the playing experience of those who take part. This latest project in Redditch is the latest addition to the inventory of modern community sports sites we are developing that cater for the needs of local people who want to play sport purely for the love of it and to stay healthy.”

Birmingham super-flyweight champion becomes charity ambassador

boxer birmingham

boxer birmingham

Local charity Baby Ava’s Support Foundation have announced Birmingham’s super-flyweight champion as its new ambassador.

Birmingham-born Kal Yafai is the current super-flyweight champion after winning the title in December 2016, and has pledged his support to Baby Ava’s Support Foundation by becoming the charities newest ambassador.

Baby Ava’s Support Foundation was founded after Richard lost his daughter, Ava, in May 2014. The charity aims to provide keepsake memory boxes to every bereaved family in the UK.

Kal Yafai said “I wasn’t familiar with the work of Baby Ava’s Foundation until Richard got in contact with me. Once I found out a little bit more about what the charity does, and how it helps parents cope with the grief of losing a child, I was delighted to become an Ambassador for the charity to help such a beautiful cause.

Baby Ava’s Support Foundation is such a great cause and is all publicly funded. I am proud to be part of such a fantastic charity, seeing them grow and helping more and more families.”

Baby Ava’s Support Foundation founder, Richard, said “We are delighted to welcome Kal Yafai to the support network on Baby Ava’s Foundation. It’s important we continue to raise funds for the cause and we believe Kal will provide a great support for us as an Ambassador, as has done lots of great work for us in the past.

Kal has really fell in love with the cause and has been great support watching us grow and develop. It is a pleasure to have him as an Ambassador for Baby Ava’s Foundation and we’re excited for our partnership in the future”.

Baby Ava’s Support Foundation has recently launched their Donate a Box campaign to support beavered families that have lost a baby through neonatal death or stillbirth. To donate, text AVAS01 and the amount to 70070, or visit Baby Ava’s Support Foundation’s Just Giving page, Richard-Atkinson10.

For more information about the work of Baby Ava’s Foundation, visit

An all new adventure for Kitvision – Have you got what it takes to become a Kitvision Ambassador?

Kitvision is more than just an action camera brand. Kitvision ‘was formed from a love of coast and countryside, a passion for life, and real adventures’, and the Kitvision Team are on a search for Ambassadors who represent a multitude of sports, backgrounds, and lifestyles to become a part of the Kitvision journey, to support and be supported by the brand, with a collective goal to inspire people to find their own adventure – whatever that may be.

Kitvision seeks ‘to inspire real people to say yes. To getting out there, having a go, and letting that adventurer inside you break free. To try the things you’ve always wanted to try, experience the new, embrace the past, and say yes to facing fears – big and small.’

Now Kitvision invites everyone, from action pros to first time adventurers to connect with the Kitvision Community and share stories of first attempts, epic journeys, or biggest jumps, to discover their Journal that’s jam-packed with expert guides, guest blogs, top tips, and amazing tales, and last but not least to follow, or join the new Ambassadors program – real people living their passions whilst proudly carrying the Kitvision flag.

This exciting opportunity offers Kitvision a chance to support, be a part of, and follow the incredible journeys of people living real life adventures, and help them to promote the sports they love; the very people that provide a purpose and need for products such as action cameras, mounts and accessories, who will motivate others to get out and find their own adventures.

With the help and expert advice of the Ambassadors, who will put the Kitvision products through their paces, the brand will be able to constantly enhance and refine their products, and develop even more products to support an even bigger range of the sports people love, because anyone and everyone should be given a chance to capture the moments that matter.

January 2017 has already welcomed Mountain Bike pro Rob Webb (@RoboWebb) to sign for his second year, even bringing his shiny new bike into the Kitvision HQ for an enthusiastic meeting about the year ahead. With events lined up for 2017 and beyond, he will continue to share his passion for action, daring tricks, and all things bikes.

Jack Eyers (@JackEyers) is one of the newest Ambassadors to join the Kitvision Ambassador team, has signed for a year and is excited to be on-board. Since electing for amputation of his right leg at the age of 16 due to a medical condition, his determination to succeed, to do anything and strive for everything, has motivated and inspired people around him. Today he uses this strength to help people as a Personal Trainer, a model, and watersports enthusiast, always eager to push people to be the best they can be.

The search for Ambassadors continues; Kitvision aspires to grow their Ambassadors team, to find people young and old who are passionate about representing their sport or activity, to not only support and provide a platform for them to promote their talents, but to spread the love of adventure far and wide, to encourage anyone and everyone to get involved in sports, and to try the things they’ve always wanted to try.

If you think you have what it takes to become a Kitvision Ambassador – do you have a passion for a sport, live and breathe adventure, and you’re ambitious to inspire? Get in touch: email, and be a part of the Kitvision mission.

‘Adventure is for all, so just say yes.’

#JustSayYes #LiveRecordRepeat #Kitvision

Kitvision Brand Video:

Kitvision products are available in most high street and online retailers.

For further product information and details on where to buy, please visit

Twitter: @KitvisionUK





This Valentine’s Day, surprise the cyclist in your life with the thoughtful gift of a ( ), a stylish and high-quality bicycle cover that keeps bikes protected from the elements all year round. Of equal appeal for him and her, the BikeParka is ideal for anyone you love, who also loves their bicycle! It is an affordable gift, costing under £40 from .

Perhaps the love of your life, or the apple of your eye, keeps his or her bike in a garden, patio or balcony? The BikeParka STASH cover is perfect for cyclists who lack indoor storage space as it protects the bike and makes for a tidy appearance. It is also ideal for stashing a bicycle away inside the house.

For those who cycle round town and leave their bicycles in public places, the BikeParka URBAN cover is a wise choice. It features Velcro lock-through panels – the idea being that the bicycle lock passes through these and secures the BikeParka to the frame, preventing theft of your carefully-chosen Valentine’s Day gift.

Perhaps your loved one is tall and rides a big bicycle? The perfect gift in this case is the BikeParka XL: a super-sized cover that fits mountain bikes, bicycles with wide handlebars and those fitted with child seats.

‘Stash’ costs £29.95, measures 220cm x 140cm and fits handlebars up to 65cm.
‘Urban’ costs £39.95, measures 220cm x 140cm and fits handlebars up to 65cm.
‘Small’ costs £24.95 measures 160cm x 120cm and fits handlebars up to 55cm.
‘XL’ costs £34.95, measures 225cm x 140cm and fits handlebars up to 100cm.

Each BikeParka comes with its handy Stuff Sac to tidy it away. The cyclist simply grabs a corner of the BikeParka and literally starts stuffing it into the bag, so that it is ergonomically stored until its next outing.

Other BikeParka options include BikeParka SMALL, which is specially designed to provide a snug and secure fit for small frames, such as BMX and children’s bikes.

As well as being sold in good bicycle stores, BikeParka is available on three-day online shipping from Amazon or and the last order date for Valentine’s Day is February 9. Gift vouchers are also available with one-day postal service.

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Give Chelsea the Premier League trophy now – Robbie Savage



Premier League leaders Chelsea should be given the trophy now, says BBC football pundit Robbie Savage.

The Blues are seven points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City with just over half the season still to go.

And speaking on BBC Radio 5 live after the Blues beat Bournemouth for a club record 12th consecutive league win, Savage says he cannot see beyond Antonio Conte’s side for the title.

“Give them the trophy now – I can’t see anyone catching them,” he said.

“Great defence and great attacking play. They can play all styles; they can break teams down.

Former Wales international midfielder Savage added that Chelsea were coping well with teams setting up defensively against them, noting that West Brom, beaten 1-0 by Chelsea earlier in December, had “played six at the back at times”.

If Chelsea beat Stoke at home on New Year’s Eve, they can equal Arsenal’s record 14-game winning sequence from 2002 when they play Tottenham at White Hart Lane on 4 January.

The Blues, who last won the league in 2014-15, also visit champions Leicester and title rivals Liverpool in January.

Read full article on BBC here.

The best ways to keep fit this winter

Winter means shorter days, frigid temperatures, and foul weather. It’s easy to retreat indoors and hibernate until the return of spring – but winter sports actually have many benefits. They can help you burn calories, increase your cardiovascular fitness and strengthen muscles. Not to mention, being outside and working up a sweat helps to beat back the winter blues. For those who really dread the cold, snoozing isn’t the answer: research shows it’s best to try short, sharp workouts.

Winter is actually a great time to take up a new sport, or to plan a family holiday – anything that will get you moving and out of the house! Here are some tips to pick up a new sport this winter, or to adapt your routine to the colder months:


Hiking is a great activity do year-round. Come winter, all you need to do is switch up your gear to make sure it’s warm and above all, waterproof. It’s a great way to keep fit whilst getting out and exploring the British countryside.

You can even extend your hiking trip for a few days by going camping. The Camping and Caravanning Club has 16 sites open year-round up and down the country. Camping doesn’t necessarily mean tents, however. If you want to be away from the cold (and potential rain) come nightfall, some sites have pods, luxury yurts, or wigwam tents. They come fully equipped; just bring your own linen and food. This is especially useful if travelling with kids: come nightfall, they’ll be grateful to have somewhere warm to play and rest.


Don’t let the low temperatures put you off – running in winter is actually hugely beneficial. Granted, it’ll take extra effort to get yourself out of bed and into the cold, but it is 100% worth it once you’re out there. All it takes is a bit of planning you keep safe and warm.

Before you head off, remember to layer up in running specific, wicking fabrics, and warm up slowly as it takes longer in cold weather. It’s also very important to warm up properly: cold and stiff muscles are more prone to injury. Consider doing some jumping jacks, a job on the treadmill or some light cycling.

Above all, don’t think you need to run by yourself! Teaming up is actually a great way to motivate yourself and be consistent. At the end of your run, make sure you wrap up quickly in dry, warm clothes: your immune system is low after hard interval sessions or long runs.


If you are a keen cyclist in the warmer months, there is no reason to put away your bike come winter. You just need to some good quality cycle lights and warm clothing to stay on the trail in winter.

The first rule of winter cycling is not to overdress: set off in an outfit in which you are a bit cold, but will soon warm up in. The second is to layer up: choose a few thinner garments, and toss on a thermal base layer.

The one thing to bear in mind is that cycling in the winter months will mean dark, not necessarily well-lit roads. This is easy to manage though thanks to LED lights. Bear in mind that if you’re cycling along urban streets, the most important thing is to be seen so it might be worth getting a light that flashes.


Swimming is a great way to keep fit year-round: it exercises the entire body without being hard on the joints, making it ideal for anyone recovering from a sports injury. If you want to keep swimming inside this winter, there’s no big adjustment: just make sure you wrap up warm when you leave the pool to avoid catching a cold. A hot drink after your workout is also strongly recommended!

If you are willing to brave the lakes and ponds come winter, be sure to adapt your gear; consider a full wetsuit if the temperature is very low, and a neoprene cap.

… Or just go for a walk!
Sometimes, the best way to get yourself out of the house is to wrap up in a woolly hat and scarf and take your dog along. Making a commitment to walk your pet during the winter months is great for them. You might be feeling the cold but they love the chillier weather: the pavement is cooler on their paws and they generally love the feel of the brisk, cool air. This is especially good if you are living with a puppy: not all of them are used to being inside all day, and they can get restless. Taking them outside will get you both some much-needed fresh air and activity!

Reds youngsters paid special visit visit by Sporting Chance

Liverpool FC U23’s and U18’s were recently paid a special visit to the Academy by behavioural problems clinic, Sporting Chance.

Founded in 2000, Sporting Chance Clinic is the brainchild of former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams MBE who was inspired by his own recovery from alcoholism.

Based on his experience, and what he felt was lacking, Adams MBE saw the need for a safe, dedicated environment, where sportsmen and women could receive support and counselling for the kinds of destructive behaviour patterns that exist in the world of competitive sport, but that are often denied.

The Reds youngsters were visited in Kirkby by ex-professional footballers Jeff Whitley and Scott Davies who both spoke openly about their battle with alcohol, gambling and drugs.

Following a visit to Sporting Chance Clinic, Whitley overcame his alcohol and drug addiction to become Head of Education for the clinic based in Liphook, Hampshire.

On the visit from Sporting Chance, midfielder Cameron Brannagan said; It is great to listen to the likes of Jeff (Whitley) and Scott (Davies) who have experienced issues such as drugs and gambling first-hand. We can only benefit from seminars such as this from Sporting Chance, as they show that there is a great support network for the boys should they encounter any problems off the field.”

Ex-Manchester City and Cardiff City midfielder Whitley added; “I have a massive respect for what Liverpool Football Club is trying to do in order to prevent and look after the well-being of their players and staff.

“It is a real blessing for me to be able to visit Club’s such as Liverpool FC to openly talk about a number of issues that I encountered when I was a professional footballer.

“From my perspective, I wish that I would have been able to listen to a talk such as this one today at their age as it shows how important it is have a strong support network.”

How did we do in Rio Paralympics 2016

ParalympicsGB are celebrating after bettering their performance at their home Games in London four years ago.

They now have 147 medals in Rio – 27 more than they won in London and with one day of competition left.

It is also the first time since 1988 that Great Britain has won more than 50 gold medals at a Paralympics.

The team’s target – set by UK Sport – was 121 medals, which has been achieved.

ParalympicsGB finished third in the medal table at their home games four years ago, behind Russia and China.

Russia do not have a team in Rio after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) applied a blanket ban on their athletes competing, following a report which found evidence of widespread doping across Russian sport.

Full article on BBC here.


wheelchair rugby

wheelchair rugby

Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby, launches a life-changing campaign to get more young people playing wheelchair rugby.

Wooden Spoon aims to raise enough money to buy a rugby wheelchair for every wheelchair rugby club in the UK and Ireland, to encourage more people to get into this growing sport. Watch a short video here.

The Government states that there are currently over 10 million disabled people in the UK – 770,000 of these are children. Only 18% of people with a disability are taking part in sport compared 39% of non disabled people.

However, wheelchair rugby offers people with a disability the opportunity to play full contact sport, no matter what their age, ability or gender.

Charlie Hetherington, 22, a wheelchair rugby player for Gloucester Wheelchair Rugby Club said: “One of the things I love about wheelchair rugby is it’s so inclusive. Anybody can get involved. It doesn’t matter what gender you are or what background you are from. As long as you have a disability which affects the arms and legs, anyone can play.

“It has given me and so many of my team mates a new lease of life, after experiencing devastating changes in circumstances after being affected by a disability following an accident or through illness.

“In addition to improving my strength, fitness, balance and wellbeing, it has given me my rugby family. I have so much fun and have formed great friendships with people who really understand my situation.”

The Disabled Living Foundation estimates that it costs three times as much to raise a disabled child as it does to raise a child without disabilities. Many of the families Wooden Spoon have spoken to have cited costs as a major barrier for getting children and young people with a disability into sport.

Steve Brown, Former GB Wheelchair Rugby Captain said: “Investing in children and young people is not about giving them something to do at the weekend. It gives them confidence that flourishes into every part of their life.”

Jai Purewal, Director of Rugby & Community Investment at Wooden Spoon said: “Our vision at Wooden Spoon is that every child and young person, no matter what their background has access to the same opportunities – through the power of rugby.

“This life-changing campaign will provide young people with disabilities better opportunities to play wheelchair rugby and help positively transform their lives.”

Wooden Spoon aims to raise £95,000 which will enable the charity to buy and distribute 19 wheelchairs to clubs across the UK & Ireland. Zurich is the first corporate supporter to get behind the campaign. Killick have just shown their support too.

Tim Atkin, Executive Vice President & Head of Customer, Distribution & Market Management at Zurich Global Corporate in Europe, Middle East & Africa said: “Throughout my career as a soldier and in the City rugby has always been a major part of my life as a player, administrator, coach and volunteer. I know from first hand experience the powerful bonds and friendships that are made through rugby, which transcend all walks of life and last a lifetime. The fabulous work which is being undertaken by Wooden Spoon in support of Wheelchair Rugby allows people who have suffered severe injuries to rebuild their confidence and personal fitness through access to the great world of rugby, to forge new friendships, to push personal boundaries and to have tremendous fun. I am delighted that Zurich is supporting Wooden Spoon and Wheel Chair rugby”.

Wooden Spoon is encouraging people across the rugby community to get involved. There are opportunities to sponsor the campaign, buy a wheelchair or make a general donation. Find out more at

Olympic Stadium ripoff ‘hammers’ charities into the turf

The extent to which West Ham United and its owners are set to profit from the Olympic Stadium was revealed this week when the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) was forced to publish, in full, the terms of the 99 year lease. However, the stadium was also effectively supported by tens of thousands of Britain’s charities, which had lottery funding siphoned away to support the Games.

Under what has been described as the ‘business deal of the century’, West Ham United will pay LLDC just £2.5m per year to use the stadium – despite the club having an annual income of over £115m.

Organisations such as the Taxpayers’ Alliance have criticised the use of tax revenues to finance the deal – but the National Lottery also contributed massively to the London Olympics. The construction of the stadium and other venues was only made possible after the Labour government, facing a massive shortfall in funding for the Games in 2007, raided an additional £425 million from the Big Lottery Fund, which makes grants to thousands of small charities and community groups around the country.

At the time, the government made a commitment to repay the money after the Olympics by selling off Olympics assets. Yet nearly four years on from 2012 this has still not taken place, with government ministers repeatedly holding to the line that refunds may take until 2030. This commitment has been reaffirmed by successive governments, however no firm deadline has ever been set. The lease terms for the Olympic Stadium, one of the most valuable assets on the park, do little to inspire hope that Government will live up to its commitment to reimburse charitable causes for the sacrifice they made for London 2012.

This is why the Big Lottery Refund campaign, run by the charity Directory of Social Change, has repeatedly called on the government to take on the role of creditor in the Olympics assets deal by repaying the Big Lottery Fund now, against future income from the sale of assets. The campaign says this will ensure the 10,000 charities that have lost much needed funding since the raid of 2007 will be able to support some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Commenting on the recent revelations, Jay Kennedy, Director of Policy and Research at the Directory of Social Change, said ‘recently revealed taxpayer subsidies for the future tenants of the Olympic Stadium are just the tip of the iceberg – it’s far worse than that. Hundreds of millions in lottery good causes cash was raided from charities and plowed into the London Games – to support key infrastructure like the stadium.’

‘It’s a financial sleight-of-hand that Mossack Fonseca could hardly have conceived. Money that should have funded tens of thousands of charitable causes across the UK has wound up subsidising the profits of wealthy Premier League club owners and the salaries of multi-millionaire players. You could even say that the Big Lottery Fund deserves the naming rights for the new stadium – after all over the next 99 years West Ham will pay back less to the LLDC than the amount of lottery cash that was taken from Big for the Olympics. Government needs to act now to put an end to this complete and utter travesty – and pay £425 million back to the Big Lottery Fund immediately.’