PEOPLE are being encouraged to pledge their support to Portsmouth’s bid to become the UK’s city of football.
As reported in The News, Portsmouth has been shortlisted as one of the final three cities after applying to Sport England to win the accolade.
The winning bid will see £1.6m awarded to a single city over two years to increase the number of people who regularly play football.
Now, businesses and members of the community are being urged to come forward and attend the Portsmouth Consortium meeting at Pompey’s Fratton Park home tomorrow to discuss the different ways to get more people playing.
Clare Martin, director of community projects at Pompey in the Community, said: ‘The aim of the programme is to bring together a range of partners in a consortium who can look at new, innovative and bold ways of getting more people playing.
‘We are very keen to work with partners who can offer routes and connections to people who do not traditionally play the game.
‘When we talk about getting more people playing the game we are not necessarily talking about the traditional forms of the game with 11 versus 11 on a Saturday afternoon.
‘For this bid, participation in football is anything anybody identifies as football, for example, a kick-about in the park, walking football, powerchair football etc.’
Clare hopes people will take an interest in the bid and what it could mean for the city.
‘The main part of the meeting will be looking at programmes and initiatives that could be developed to raise regular participation in football,’ she said.
‘Feedback from Sport England so far indicates that we need to take a few more risks in our projects and to think outside the box.
‘For this we really welcome the ideas of people who are not necessarily from a sports or football background.
‘We would like to give everyone in the city the chance, not only for input into the submission, but to genuinely benefit should we be successful.’
Pompey in the Community is heading up the submission and the consortium involves Portsmouth Football Club, The University of Portsmouth, the Royal Navy, The News and Portsmouth City Council.
The other shortlisted cities are Manchester and Nottingham.
The meeting will take place at Fratton Park tomorrow from 3pm until 5pm.