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'Community is key' to future of St George's Park

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

By Rob Smyth

Youngsters at St George's Park

Youngsters at St George's Park

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LEADING figures at the national football centre have lifted the lid on the 'major impact' the £105 million site has had on grassroots sport in Burton and South Derbyshire.

Lee Brown, community development manager at St George's Park, spoke to the Mail about how schools, youth and adult teams from across the area and the entire country are helping St George's Park achieve its 'whole game' remit.

He revealed that since the start of the new season on August 1 a total of 850 players from 100 teams have made use of the community side of the centre.

He told the Mail: "In my role, if we were not doing everything that we could to open this site up to the community then I would not be happy.

"We have a great relationship with East Staffordshire Borough Council, Staffordshire Football Association, Derbyshire Football Association and Birmingham County Football Association, which opens up a whole host of possibilities for teams in the area."

As well as hosting weekly football festival and youth teams from across the area most weekends, the community arm of St George's Park also helps Burton Albion ladies and various adult teams find a home for training.

"We open our doors by offering certain pitches for free and some at a reduced rate so that we can help with the development of the grassroots game – this is something that fits in with the whole game message of St George's Park," said Mr Brown.

"We can have a group of schoolchildren playing in the Futsal hall one side of the site and a Premiership team on the other side.

"This shows that we cater for the whole football community."

The site offers its 3G 'David Beckham' pitch to organisations and community groups from 5.30pm to 9.30pm for a discounted rate as part of the effort to allow members of the public to use the facilities at the site.

Mr Brown said: "St George's Park caters for the entire England set up right to a variety of football teams in the area.

"We are all about promoting the fact that this site can support both elite and grassroots athletes.

"Whether players are from a team in Burton or South Derbyshire, or anywhere else in the country, we want to help them develop and grow using the great facilities that we have."

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