Needham Market get huge funding grant as Suffolk football flourishes

An artist’s impression of how the new 3G pitch, left, will look alongside the main pitch

An artists impression of how the new 3G pitch, left, will look alongside the main pitch - Credit: Archant

“It is a fantastically exciting time to be a part of Suffolk football.”

New Suffolk FA Football Development manager, Jodie Allard is excited about the future of football in

New Suffolk FA Football Development manager, Jodie Allard is excited about the future of football in the county - Credit: Archant

So says Jodie Allard, the new Football Development Manager at Suffolk FA.

The 27-year-old, who took up her new post at the start of this month, said: “Over the next few months I will be working closely with the rest of the Suffolk FA team to review our Development programmes and ensure we continue to create environments which provide all players, coaches, volunteers, referees and parents in Suffolk with the best possible football experience.

“It’s a fantastically exciting time to be a part of Suffolk football. Across the county, we have a large proactive network of volunteers who work tirelessly to provide more and better opportunities to play the game than ever before.

“Football remains the nation’s favourite sport, which gives us huge scope to use the game as a tool to develop individuals and communities across Suffolk.

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“It’s vital that Suffolk FA supports clubs, leagues and partners across the county to continue to grow, sustain and deliver the best possible football experience for all.”

Jodie outlined the current landscape of football across the county:

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– 1,462 affiliated teams playing football on a regular basis from Under-7s to Veterans, adult male, adult female, Youth mixed and female teams

– 15 walking football centres delivering 20 walking football sessions each week to senior players

– 13 disability teams playing regularly as part of the SIL Ability Counts League programme

– 4 Wildcats centres providing opportunity for girls aged 5-11, which will be expanding to 20 centres in 2018. This will support the FA’s vision of doubling female participation by 2020.

– Flexible football offer through the Monday Night Football League and Futsal Programme

Two separate stories this week highlight what is happening in Suffolk football right now.

Ipswich Charioteers, the only Wheelchair Football Club in East Anglia, will be celebrating its tenth anniversary with a showcase event in the town on Saturday.

The award-winning club, which is run by Claire O’Brien-Ellington and her husband Simon, has been a focal point for wheelchair football within the region and continues to provide opportunities for players with various disabilities to enjoy the beautiful game.

The event at Inspire Suffolk aims to attract wheelchair users to teach them more about the club, wheelchair sports and how they can get involved with the Charioteers community.

It is taking place from 12 noon until 4pm, and is open for members of the public to attend.

Needham Market FC had cause for celebration earlier this week with confirmation that the club has been awarded funding of £473,792 from the Football Foundation for a floodlit artificial grass pitch.

The 3G pitch will replace their existing practice grass pitch, adjacent to the main pitch, enabling the club to train and hold fixtures all-year-round – even during bad weather in the winter months.

It will also benefit Needham Market Academy who will use the new pitch, providing a great environment for players to develop.

Local junior teams will also use the site as a training venue, with Suffolk FA and Suffolk County Schools’ FA benefiting from the facility as well.

Jodie said: “The club have worked very hard behind the scenes to ensure this bid was successful and we are confident that the new facility will support both their, and partner clubs, football development outcomes moving forwards.

“Football Foundation artificial grass pitches, such as the one which will be built at Needham Market, are a vital vehicle in supporting the local community and enhancing the football experience across all participants.

“We look forward to continuing to support Needham Market, and other partner clubs, to ensure this site supports the growth and sustainability of grassroots football in the local area.”

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