Sport England has today announced that Nottingham is to be its first City of Football after winning the title in a three-way final with Manchester and Portsmouth.
Football in the Community’s Director, Steve Hill and Senior Manager, Tim Hatton have played a central role in Nottingham’s bid, which will bring the title and funding to the city.
Nottingham will receive £1.6 million of National Lottery funding over two years that will see the city given the opportunity to offer everyone who wants to play football the opportunity to do so. Nottingham will become a test-bed for developing innovative ways to ensure more people play the game and share best practice across the country.
FITC will be involved in new football-related projects all over Nottingham, details of which will be released in 2015. The consortium realised that most people in Nottingham have a connection to football but that often people do not play. The aim will be to get people to “find their football” and play on a regular basis.
Nottingham’s consortium developed their full proposal over the summer in a bid to transform football participation across the city and tackle the challenges in retaining and growing the numbers of people who play the sport. In recent years, the number of over-16s playing football regularly fell from 2.2 million in June 2012 to 1.8 million in December 2013.
This funding will allow the charity to develop new exciting projects incorporating the City’s arts and culture sectors. The aim will be to engage new players or re-engage players who have stopped playing and secure Nottingham’s footballing future and legacy.
Steve Hill, FITC’s Community Director, is delighted with the news. He said: “We’ve put a lot of work into this bid throughout this year and to be successful is a sign that the work we are doing in Nottingham is having an impact on a national scale.
“With this funding we will be able to offer more opportunities to play and increase the amount of work we are doing with hard-to-reach groups.
“It’s a really exciting time and we can’t wait to start in 2015.”
Nigel Cooke, Head of One Nottingham, said: “This is great news for Nottingham and its people and will transform the footballing landscape in the city. One Nottingham will continue to bring together organisations and experts from across the city to ensure we deliver an exceptional, joined-up and creative programme, resulting in a social football revolution.
“Over the next two years, we will create new football partnerships; develop new technologies; encourage more people to play, especially 14 to 25 year olds, women and girls and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds; and share our learning so that the rest of England can benefit from our insight.”
Sport England was particularly impressed by the innovative way Nottingham has partnered with its Creative Quarter to engage young people through youth culture. Nottingham’s proposal combines key youth interests including music, gaming, fashion, film and art. This was viewed as a real advantage by assessors and something that would appeal to the audience that Sport England is targeting. Combining these creative strengths with Nottingham’s track record of sports delivery was what secured the victory for Nottingham.
Nottingham’s bid team is made up of a unique and exciting consortium of high profile organisations from across the City’s digital, technology and creative industries, as well as its business, voluntary, community and football sectors. The consortium has worked closely with large local employers to ensure staff can benefit from the enormous opportunities the title will bring to the city.
Delivery is expected to begin in early 2015 following a period of planning.