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Wealdstone Youth Football Club to make playing site permanent home

Wealdstone and Ickenham Youth Football Clubs are set to secure their playing grounds as permanent homes, thanks to collaborative efforts between Hillingdon Council, Middlesex FA, the Premier League, The FA, and the government’s Football Foundation.

Established in 2008, Wealdstone operates at New Pond Playing Fields in Ruislip, catering to 49 youth teams of mixed abilities ranging from ages four to 18. Similarly, Ickenham, formed in 2006, accommodates over 500 young players across 13 age groups at Hillingdon House Farm in Uxbridge.

Both clubs have recently been admitted to the Football Foundation’s Home Advantage Programme, facilitated by successful applications made by the council last year. This initiative aims to assist grassroots clubs and organisations nationwide in securing long-term leases or licenses for their playing sites.

Participating in the programme grants Wealdstone and Ickenham access to guidance and support from the Foundation and The FA, along with legal assistance to streamline the transfer process. Additionally, they are eligible to apply for funding of up to £250,000 from the Foundation to enhance their facilities. This allocation could cover various improvements such as security fencing, storage units, ground maintenance equipment, and catering cabins.

Securing permanent locations will not only solidify the clubs’ roles within the community but also empower them to expand and self-sustain by generating income autonomously.

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in these two bids for Wealdstone and Ickenham Youth Football Clubs and I’m especially proud of the fact that Hillingdon was the only successful London borough for the first phase of this exciting programme. I’m now looking forward to seeing how these sites are improved.

“This national scheme supports our commitments of creating a thriving local economy and healthy households, and will allow these clubs to take more ownership of the places they call home and create more sustainable assets for the local community.”

Spencer Dargue, Chairman Wealdstone Youth FC, added: “Securing the New Pond Playing Fields site for Wealdstone Youth FC will have a massively positive impact on the future for our club.

“Since 2008, our club has grown into one of the largest grassroots football clubs in the area. It will aid our continued presence within the local community as a hub for local boys and girls to develop their footballing talent.

“More importantly, it will provide the security to enable us to offer a safe, fun, sporting environment for thousands of local children over the next 20 plus years.”