Burton Albion Community Trust is aiming to secure funding to build an artificial pitch complete with changing rooms at the Pirelli Stadium.
The project has already received a massive boost having secured nearly £850,000 from the Premier League & the Football Association Facilities Fund
The site was earmarked for use by the Brewers as a training pitch when the stadium was built in 2005, but the first team squad currently uses the facilities at St George’s Park instead.
Now, Burton Albion Community Trust, the football club’s charity off-shoot, has submitted plans to East Staffordshire Borough Council to create a much-needed new facility for the town of Burton. A decision is expected in the New Year.
The trust’s head of community, Andy Taylor, said: “We have been working for more than 12 months with the Staffordshire County Football Association and the Football Foundation, as well as local partners, to submit planning and funding applications to develop a 3G artificial grass pitch and a support building with changing rooms and a club room for the benefit of the community based at the Pirelli Stadium.
“The chairman of Burton Albion, Ben Robinson, has enabled us to move ahead with plans for this land to help fulfil a huge community need.
“We have now secured £843,510 of the funding from the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund which is delivered by the Football Foundation.”
This grant will provide around 85 per cent of the cash needed, with the trust working on local match funding to reach the £1 million target. It currently still needs to raise another £100,000.
Mr Taylor said: “Now we have secured the bulk of the funding we believe we have the momentum to reach the target and are looking for partners and funding sources to bridge the gap.”
The club is now working with local partners and already have commitments from Trent and Dove, the Consolidated Charity of Burton and the Local Neighbourhood Development Fund.
“The football club and the chairman’s focus has always been on the community and this funding would not be possible without Burton Albion and the community trust,” added Mr Taylor.
“It’s far greater than Burton Albion Community Trust and the football club; it’s about supporting the development of football, sport and community engagement in the Burton area. We can only see positives from this scheme.”
Burton Albion Community Trust chairman John Jackson said it was important to take advantage of available funding to bring this new sports facility to Burton. He said: “It is essential as there is a shortfall of such facilities in the area and it will fill a great need and enable the trust to expand its operations to cope with more people, offering them increased chance of engaging in sporting activities and creating a happier and healthier community. Such is the need that we estimate that it will be fully occupied almost from the moment it opens.
“It will be a great additional facility for East Staffordshire.”
It is funded by the Premier League, the FA and the Government, via Sport England, the Premier League. The FA Facilities Fund is delivered by the Football Foundation. The foundation’s chief executive Paul Thorogood said: “Congratulations should go to Burton Albion and the trust for working with the Staffordshire County FA to secure this grant.”
If approved, the facility could be set to open in August 2016.