The Football Foundation, the largest sports charity in the UK, is piloting a programme with MyLocalPitch to enable community football facilities to digitally revolutionise the way players access their pitches.
The charity channels funding from the Premier League, The FA and government to help transform the grassroots landscape throughout England. Since its launch in 2000, the Foundation has delivered £1.5bn of community sports projects, which includes the development of 700 all-weather pitches, 1,000 changing pavilions and 3,000 natural grass pitches.
This partnership means the Football Foundation will be capable of accurately tracking the number of people playing, their time spent at the facility and the frequency of their visits, with both parties working together to increase football participation. As well as increasing the digital accessibility of facilities, the partnership will help the Foundation to understand where best to direct their funding.
Initially, 25 Football Foundation-funded facilities have been invited to take part in this innovative project that sees the Foundation explore methods to improve the digital infrastructure of sports facilities for the benefit of both end users and facility delivery and management. MyLocalPitch’s platform opens up accessibility to players looking for a quick and simple way to organise games, and since launching in 2014, has helped over 1.5 million players participate in sport.
Greater access will be given to millions of footballers to help sports venues benefit from increased utilisation. Players can now simply find and book pitches through the website or app. MyLocalPitch has shown that introducing an online booking system has increased facility utilisation by an average of 26%, with sports venues benefiting from increased visitor numbers.
Football Foundation Ambassador, Graeme Le Saux, said: “As a Football Foundation ambassador, we are committed to raising the standards of community football and giving more people access to top quality facilities. MyLocalPitch shares this vision and are making a positive impact on how people access sport through an effective digital solution.”
Improving access by implementing a digital strategy opens up the opportunities for venues to enhance their digital accessibility which is a key component of Sport England’s blueprint for building an active nation.
Jamie Foale, MyLocalPitch CEO, commented: “Our search and booking platform is proven to greatly increase facility utilisation by making access simpler. Working with the Football Foundation to deliver its long-term digital strategy will hugely enhance the community football experience. Venues will be able to accurately track progress thanks to the rich data collected through the booking process.”