City of Football bid backed by Portsmouth community groups

Lee Bates, Kieran  Harris, Bryony Vine, Catherine Morfew, Steven Reay and Mark French support the City of Football bid
Lee Bates, Kieran Harris, Bryony Vine, Catherine Morfew, Steven Reay and Mark French support the City of Football bid
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COMMUNITY groups have spoken about how they would benefit if Portsmouth became the City of Football.

The title would secure the city a grant of £1.6m from Sport England which would go towards increasing the number of people playing football.

Different organisations who use football on a daily basis to help their clients have said they would benefit massively from the funding.

One of them is the Beneficial Foundation in Fratton.

The charity, which assists adults with learning difficulties and other disabilities, uses football in one of its rehabilitation courses. It also works closely with Pompey in the Community, which is driving the City of Football bid.

Jennie Brent, chief executive of the foundation, said: ‘We would majorly benefit from the grant.

‘We work closely with adults over 16 and we use football to help build self-esteem.

‘We have been working closely with Pompey in the Community and we find football really helps our different groups. Any sort of money would help.’

The money would also support families in the city who work with Learning Links. The charity, based at St George’s Square, Portsea, helps families who are struggling with a range of difficulties.

Clare Roach, projects manager of the Family Moving Forward scheme, said: ‘We use football to motivate our families to make changes in their lives.

‘It teaches them about making healthy lifestyle changes but we also find it improves family relationships.

‘We have got some children who like football so we use that to bring them closer to their parents.’

She added: ‘With the funding, we would be able to help so many more families.

‘But the bid is about more than helping just us.

‘Getting everyone together in the city to show their support means we can reach lots of people.’

The £1.6m grant would also aid organisations like the sport and recreation department at the University of Portsmouth.

Paul Tilley, head of the department, said: ‘For us it would help develop our partnerships with other agencies in the city.

‘We could get more of our students coaching in schools or other community groups but it would also help embed community projects more in the city. But it will also help raise our profile across the country.’

As reported, Portsmouth in on the shortlist to become the City of Football along with Nottingham and Manchester.

The winning bid will be decided by Sport England in September.