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Lionesses Futures Fund

Volume 741: debated on Wednesday 29 November 2023

The Government have today announced they are investing £25 million in 2024-25, complemented with £5 million of additional investment from the Football Association, to create a new Lionesses Futures Fund. This fund is expected to deliver 30 state-of-the-art 3G artificial grass pitches across England, providing gold-standard provision for women and girls.

This funding honours the Lionesses’ win at the UEFA Euro 2022 final and their journey to the final of the FIFA World cup 2023, as well as their efforts to continue to raise the profile of women’s football, both domestically and internationally. It is important to build on these successes to ensure a long-lasting and sustainable future for women’s football in this country.

The Football Foundation, the charitable body responsible for delivering the existing Government (as well as FA and Premier League) investment in grassroots facilities in England, will lead delivery of this new fund. The foundation is applying robust principles to identify sites to benefit from this investment across all of England. The Government will continue to monitor and work closely with the foundation to ensure projects have women’s and girls’ usage at the heart of their plans.

Many of the selected projects—which will be confirmed by the Football Foundation in due course—will have a women and girls-led club at their heart. In total these sites will support an estimated 8,000 unique female players—built around women’s and girls’ priority use, using reserved peak-time slots, women and girls-only evenings and priority booking for women’s and girls’ teams to drive up participation and create pathways for growth.

The decision to focus investment on artificial grass pitches allows for increased hours of playing time as well as a larger variety of playing formats, creating more opportunities for women and girls to get involved at a recreational level. We know that a lack of appropriate and accessible changing facilities is a current barrier to women’s and girls’ participation. With this in mind, each site will also have a new or upgraded changing facility.

The new investment the Government are committing to today builds on our existing investment of over £300 million in grassroots and multi-sport facilities across the UK between 2021 and 2025 (which we deliver in partnership with the Football Associations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). This funding also seeks to increase access for under-represented groups (including women and girls) and ensures that every community has access to the grassroots facilities it needs.

We are in a defining period for women’s football in this country and the Government are committed to honouring the Lionesses and building on their legacy—this investment will transform grassroots access and make sure that high-quality facilities are ready and available when women and girls turn up to play.