In partnership with the UK Government, Scotland’s football clubs, local authorities, leisure trusts and key stakeholders, the Scottish FA will identify key football facilities across the Association’s 6 regions where there is an evidence-based need for investment that will maintain, sustain and attain facilities identified as critical in facilitating participation at local grassroots level.
This will be done in a manner that promotes healthy, physical activity through football and which contributes to social inclusion and cohesion, all within facilities that are safe, attractive and sustainable over the longer term.
A total of £16.1m has been available over what remains of Phase 3 (up to end March 2024) & Phase 4 (April 2024 – March 2025).
Our Phase 3 Round 2 application window is open from Friday 1 September 2023 to Friday 29 September 2023 at 12noon.
Further application windows will open thereafter, details of which will follow in due course.
For any project not yet at full application stage, you can still bring it to our attention by completing our Expression of Interest (EoI) form. EoI’s can be submitted at any time via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The focus for investment in Phases 3 & 4 of the Scottish FA Grassroots Pitch & Facilities Fund falls in 3 key areas;
MAINTAIN – projects targeting the maintenance and enhancement of existing football pitches and built infrastructure that supports the game. These will promote increased participation and a level of quality that not only meets match, training and recreational football requirements, but which will also ensure that the facility is safe and attractive to all participants, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or level of the game being played.
SUSTAIN – projects with a sustainability theme, where the focus will fall on improvements to football facilities which promote environmental, financial and ultimately overall club sustainability. Football has a responsibility to play its part in the wider sustainability agenda. With 65% of the projects currently being delivered through Phase 2 of this fund being SUSTAIN projects, we want to continue making as meaningful an impact as possible in this crucial area by promoting sustainability, in all its forms, through the grassroots community football clubs.
ATTAIN – will support the initial attainment and subsequent development of ‘new build’ football facility projects – whether natural grass or 3G surfaces or other forms of built infrastructure that support the game both on and off the pitch. The range of facilities now needed by grassroots community football clubs is broader than ever before and stretches way beyond the pitch itself. The ATTAIN stream will support these ever changing requirements.
The Funding Streams
Our MAINTAIN theme will channel investment into 2 core types of project.
Football Pitches – both synthetic and natural grass pitch development. This will broaden impact beyond solely synthetic playing surfaces, at the same time providing a much-needed funding source for natural grass pitch venues that have suffered significantly as a result of decreasing levels of investment over a number of years now due to wider financial pressures.
Built Infrastructure – improvements, upgrades and reconfigurations to existing facilities that support football. These projects will address issues related to safety, accessibility, diversity and inclusion and more generally ensuring that such facilities can continue to operate in a safe, secure and as operationally efficient a way as possible.
Our MAINTAIN theme will support;
- 3G Playing Surfaces – upgrade or replacement of existing pitches, at both training (60 x 40m minimum) and full size (90 x 56m Scottish FA minimum) level.
- Natural Grass – upgrade/improvement of existing match pitches and/or training pitches/spaces
- Upgrade, reconfiguration and general improvements to existing built infrastructure that supports the game
In parallel with this, our SUSTAIN theme will consider football facility projects with environmental, financial and ultimately club sustainability at their core, at the same time delivering real football participation and developmental impacts. Examples of projects that may fall within SUSTAIN include;
- Floodlighting – existing system conversions to LED
- Solar panel installation
As an area that is currently evolving, Phase 3 & 4 projects supported through the SUSTAIN stream will be limited to 3G floodlighting and solar panel installation.
All SUSTAIN projects must be delivered by a recognised electrical contractor holding the necessary industry accreditations, e.g. SELECT Scotland and/or the new Microgeneration Certification Scheme (or MCS) accreditation, together with evidencable experience of delivering projects of the type applied for.
ATTAIN will support the development and delivery of ‘new build’ football facility projects – whether natural grass, 3G pitches or the various forms of built infrastructure that will best support the game. There will be a focus on the types of spaces that are now needed by grassroots football clubs to support their variety of off-pitch activities, as well as those on-pitch. ATTAIN projects will include but are not exhaustive to;
- New build football pitches – natural grass or 3G – at both training (60 x 40m minimum) and full size (90 x 56m Scottish FA minimum) level.
- Covered/enclosed pitch facilities – innovative solutions that protect the pitch from the weather without the need for a full construction indoor football facility .
- New build club houses/pavilions – including changing, social, educational, administrative and other spaces.
- New floodlighting systems – primarily LED for reasons of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.
- A ‘partner, or match, funding’ approach is being adopted for this phase of funding, with 50% Scottish FA / 50% partner contribution the principal starting point.
- Where an applicant can produce a strong, robust, evidence-based argument for an investment above 50%, this will be considered.
- Applications from Scotland’s most rural communities are welcome, and where successful, a ‘rural indexation’ may be added to an award to cover the additional costs (e.g., materials, transport/logistics) often incurred by delivery partners based in more remote locations.
- All projects must be initiated on notification of award.
- The works proposed must be complete by 31 March 2024 and/or 31 March 2025, subject to any phasing plan associated with your project.
- Failure to complete the works proposed as outlined within your application by 31 March of each phase year(s) will result in the withdrawal of funding.
PARTNER FUNDING – if your project is dependent on investment from other sources, please be aware that many funders are often oversubscribed. This is particularly the case in the current financial climate. Consequently, funders may not be in a position to support your project to the full extent of a request or even in part. You must consider the impact that a lower or zero award will have on the overall financial viability of your project when developing your funding profile and, where possible, construct a contingency plan that considers all outcomes.
FUNDING PARTNER ENGAGEMENT – where you are seeking investment from other sources and regardless of the individual amounts being sought from each, IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU ENGAGE WITH ALL POTENTIAL FUNDERS SIMULTANEOUSLY PRIOR TO APPLICATION. Progressing your project from funding award through construction phase and ultimately on to full completion is often directly related to the timeframe within which the different elements of your overall funding package are confirmed.
Initial identification of potential projects for investment will be made on satisfying the following 3 key, high-level criteria:
- protect both current and future football participation levels
- continue to offer football development opportunities in a safe, attractive venue
- promote football as a positive lifestyle choice.
Projects meeting the above criteria will then be assessed against the following funding partner criteria;
UK Government – Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)
In addition to the key football development criteria following below, this UK Government funding has a number of objectives against which projects will be scored. While projects do not need to meet all of these objectives, clearly those who score highly and across multiple areas stand an increased chance of securing funding.
The programme objectives and outcomes for the investment in Scotland are;
- participation – the funding aims to increase participation in sport across the country, improving the mental and physical health of applicants
- multi-sport – 40% of the investment will be awarded to multi-sport projects to maximise sport and physical activity participation. A multi-sport project is one that benefits football and at least one other sport on a sustained and regular basis. Whilst this can include school sport/curricular PE, we would expect another sport to have some level of community access at weekends/evenings. For example, following investment from Phase 1 of this fund, replacement of the 3G pitch at Garthdee in Aberdeen has seen the facility used by Gaelic Football, Lacrosse, Shinty and American Football, as well as being ‘home’ to Aberdeen FC Ladies for training and matches.
- under-represented groups– all projects should demonstrate how they will increase participation by under-represented groups – including women and girls, those from ethnic minority backgrounds and disabled people.
- deprived areas – 50% of the investment will be directed into the most deprived areas (see table below). Prioritisation will be based on a combination of the Scottish Indices of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) at Local Authority level and Local Authority inactivity rankings based on data from the Scottish Household Survey 2019. Using this methodology, the following Local Authority’s will be prioritised to receive 50% of the overall investment. We welcome applications from across the rest of Scotland for the remaining 50%.
|LA||IMD rank||Inactivity Rank||Sum ranking|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||11||1||12|
|Dumfries and Galloway||13||4||17|
Should you wish to access further details on the Scottish Indices of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) in relation to your application, please click on the following links:
Scottish FA Football Facility Development
Projects must also satisfy the following ‘football development-focused’ criteria to secure funding:
- involve grassroots football facilities that currently support local community football clubs and focus primarily on football development activity
- to protect both current and future football participation levels:
- to continue to offer football development opportunities in a safe, attractive venue
- to actively and demonstrably promote the benefits of adopting football, and therefore healthy physical activity, as a positive lifestyle choice.
- clearly identifiable Scottish FA Member or Quality Mark accredited club(s) as ‘anchor’.
- any identified pitch must currently support significant levels of football development activity, maintaining this level as a minimum, increasing it where capacity allows.
- anchor club(s) development and match activity must be prioritised over recreational and/or commercial activity
- commitment from Club/LA/LT partner to include (but not limited to);
For Pitch Projects;
- project target pitch must be in evidenced need of replacement.
- meeting the full cost of future surface replacement (from circa Yr8 subject to surface quality/condition)
- meeting all associated improvement/replacement costs identified as part of the replacement, ensuring/maximising both the use and protection of the asset
- procurement of the requisite pitch maintenance equipment (to be advised)
- all associated staffing and specialist maintenance support contract to maintain the resultant new surface to the highest possible standard
For Built Infrastructure;
- meeting all core operational responsibilities – health & safety, all relevant insurances, operational and developmental staffing
- commitment to meet the full repair and maintenance requirements over the lifespan of the facility.
- commitment to meet the full cost of future upgrade/replacement
- ensuring/maximising both the use and protection of the asset
- all associated staffing and specialist maintenance support contracts to maintain the resultant new facility to the highest possible standard
Environmental Impact Criteria
Beyond the DCMS & Scottish FA key criteria outlined above, those applications illustrating a commitment to meeting the following Environmental Impact Criteria will be prioritised:
For MAINTAIN 3G Pitch Projects;
Recycling – the different elements of the pitch construction profile which may be recycled, those products including but not exhaustive to.
- pre-formed/proprietary shock-pad(s)
- performance infill products
- 3G playing surface
- wooden or pre-formed plastic or previously recycled ‘kickboards’ and/or infill migration mitigation measures such as drainage filters, traps, and footwear grids.
Microplastics – replacement surface to include an alternative bio or eco-friendly infill to rubber-based infill products (e.g., SBR, TPE, EPDM etc.) reducing ongoing risk of microplastic migration into drainage systems and on into local water courses.
For SUSTAIN – LED Floodlight & Alternative Energy Projects
Sustainability – floodlight upgrade to LED and any other energy sustainability projects that will make a significant contribution in financial and/or environmental terms.
For ATTAIN – New Build Football Infrastructure Projects
Sustainability – demonstrating a clear commitment to and requirement for the latest in sustainable building practices and measures to be included as an integral part of the planning, design and construction process that will ultimately maximise the efficiency of the resultant facility in financial and/or environmental terms.