The Football Foundation partners with MyLocalPitch to boost participation in football

The UK’s largest sports charity, The Football Foundation, has partnered with online football pitch booking site MyLocalPitch to pilot a programme with a view to completely changing how community football facilities are used by local players.

Partnering with MyLocalPitch gives The Football Foundation the ability to track the number of people playing on local pitches, their amount of time they spend at the facility and how often they visit, in an attempt to increase participation in the sport. The hope is that local facilities will become more easily accessible on digital media, but that the partnership will also help the charity to pinpoint the best uses for the funding they get from the Premier League, The FA and the government in order to benefit the grassroots game in England.

Since its launch in 2000, the Football Foundation has delivered £1.5bn of community sports projects, including the development of 700 all-weather pitches, 1,000 changing pavilions and 3,000 natural grass pitches. This partnership should help put those to better use.

Initially, 25 Football Foundation-funded facilities have been invited to take part in the project which aims to improve the digital infrastructure supporting sports facilities for the benefit of users and pitch managers. 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.

One of the ways in which digital media can help grassroots sport is through software as a service offerings like this. Booking pitches through web or phone apps clearly takes much of the difficulty out of arranging a game and MyLocalPitch say that introducing an online booking system can increase facility utilisation by an average of 26%. Participation rates are obviously helped by this, but so too are the facilities who can seeing an increase in users and revenue. And by partnering with a charity, MyLocalPitch can use the power of their app to revolutionise grassroots football to benefit everyone.

Football Foundation Ambassador and former England defender, 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.”

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.”

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 772 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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