Young people in Sharrow are celebrating news of a £350,000 contribution from the Football Foundation to support a new state of the art facility for young people and the wider community in Lowfield Park.
This grant from the Football Foundation will provide an all-weather synthetic sports pitch with floodlights, which can be used for football, cricket, netball and rounders by young people, local schools and the wider community.
It is hoped that the new pitches will be part of wider improvements at Lowfield, which many residents will already be aware of. These include the refurbishment of Lowfield School (already underway), improvements to the open space and a new state of the art building, which the young people’s group has named ‘U-Mix’.
The new building promises to provide a welcoming and exciting base for a whole range of activities and opportunities for young people in Sharrow and the wider area. It will also be used by Lowfield school, the wider community and will house the changing rooms for the sports pitches. An innovative design provides space for training opportunities, dance, performing arts, chill-out and library resources. A strong partnership between Sheffield City Council, Football Unites Racism Divides (FURD), Sheffield Futures and Lowfield Primary School will ensure an exciting range of activities are on offer from this space.
Lots of work has been carried out to find out what young people and the wider community think about this project. Young people have been heavily involved in shaping the plans and how the space will be used and managed in the future. FURD has played a lead role in supporting young people to influence this project and the facility will provide a secure base for the charity to be able to expand its youth work, volunteering, resource centre, research and sporting activities.
Kazem Balogun of the ‘Urban Mixtures’ young people’s group said: “This news from the Football Foundation is a fantastic boost to young people in Sheffield. After many years of hard work by all concerned, we’re nearly there.”
The grant offer by the Football Foundation is great news for everyone who wants to see a brighter future for Lowfield, but this investment can only be spent if the wider funding package is confirmed. At the moment the project team is awaiting final confirmation from the Department for Education that further funding amounting to just over £2 million will be allocated, following agreement in principle in 2009.
Cllr Roger Davison, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism from Sheffield City Council said: “U-Mix is an innovative four-way partnership between Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Futures, Football Unites Racism Divides and Lowfield School and will provide a fantastic facility to engage with and meet the aspirations of young people. It will greatly enhance what’s on offer here, not only to young people but also to local schools and the wider community.”
Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government via Sport England, the Football Foundation is the nation’s largest sports charity. Launched in July 2000, the Foundation celebrates its tenth anniversary this summer and has so far supported around 8,000 community sports projects worth £920 million.
Join the Facebook group - 'Save our U-Mix centre' to show your support for the new centre: