The Premier League's biggest community initiative will receive further recognition when Minister for Sport, Gerry Sutcliffe, and Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, launch new facilities at Middlesbrough FC's Eston centre this Thursday (October 23).
Thousands of local people are keeping active thanks to the Football Foundation's £520,000 investment in the facilities at Boro's community centre.
With dual funding from One North East, the grant enabled MFC in the Community to install natural lighting and a third generation Astroturf pitch in the Herlingshaw Centre and to install drainage and irrigation to external grass pitches.
Mr Sutcliffe and Mr Thorogood will be given a tour of the Boro community facilities by MFC in the Community Director George Cooke and Middlesbrough FC Chief Executive Keith Lamb.
They will tour the indoor facilities being utilised by children aged under five who enjoy the club's Micro Soccer courses, by pupils from the local Whale Hill Primary School.
Girls from the nearby St Peter's Secondary School - the South Bank school once attended by Boro legend Wilf Mannion - will be training on the outdoor pitch, which is frequently utilised by Middlesbrough girls' centre of excellence.
MFC Ladies manager Marrie Wieczorek, who is part of the MFC in the Community team, will be coaching the girls with the help of Ladies captain Amy Laville and midfielder Stephanie Turnbull.
Gerry Sutcliffe, Minister for Sport, said: "I am delighted to officially open the fantastic new sports pitches and changing pavilion.
"In just eight years, the Government's partnership with the football industry through the Football Foundation has delivered over 1,100 grass roots community sports facilities across the country worth over half a billion pounds.
"These are helping to increase participation in football and a range of different sports.
"This kind of achievement does not take place without a lot of work by local people. I therefore want to congratulate Middlesbrough Football Community Project and all local partners, especially One North East and the North Riding County FA."
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: "These excellent new facilities will be a big boost to sports provision in this part of Middlesbrough.
"They will enable more people to have regular access to high quality artificial and grass playing surfaces, as well as comfortable changing rooms.
"The Football Foundation has a strong partnership with Middlesbrough Football Community Project, having successfully delivered a range of initiatives together over the years, ranging from the healthy-lifestyle scheme Fit Through Football and Middlesbrough's Kickz project to the Barclays Spaces for Sport facility at Thorntree Park."
George Cooke, Director of MFC in the Community, added: "Thanks to this funding, our facilities are now as good as, if not better than, anywhere else in the area.
"With safe and high quality surfaces, we are now able to extend our work to a far wider audience. In fact, the facilities are already in almost constant use by local community groups and football clubs.
"Without such funding, it would be impossible to continue to enhance the national recognition we have for the standard of our health, education and fitness work."
Using the MFC badge to engage young people, MFC in the Community touches the lives of 43,000 local people per year. It employs fifty full-time staff and between twenty and thirty part-time staff.
The three main areas of contact are health and wellbeing, entry to employment and encouraging entrepreneurial and business skills.
Funding comes from the Primary Care Trusts, One North East, the Premier League and the local authorities.
The Football Foundation is the UK's largest sports charity. It is funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government and invests £40million into grass roots sport every year.
The Foundation's mission is to improve facilities, create opportunities and build communities throughout England. Since its launch in July 2000, the Foundation has funded over 5,800 facility and community projects worth over £715million. It has also kitted out 230,000 youngsters and disabled adults with free football strips and equipment.
Source:-Come On Boro .com