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Football Foundation's Robert Sullivan visits Norfolk

Marketing & Communications
CEO of the Football Foundation, Robert Sullivan, visited Norfolk FA’s new County HQ, The FDC & other Football Foundation funded projects.

CEO of the Football Foundation, Robert Sullivan, visited Norfolk FA’s new County Headquarters and The Football Development Centre (FDC) last week as he completed a tour of some of the County’s Football Foundation funded projects.


Meeting Chairman Michael Banham, Chief Executive Matt Carpenter, and Head of Facilities & Development Ian Grange, Robert was given a tour of the recently refurbished FDC in Bowthorpe, Norwich as well as the newly constructed County HQ Building.

Having recently completed the latest developments of its flagship football hub with support from the Football Foundation totalling £971,040, Norfolk FA is planning for Phase 2 of the project which will see a £646,040 Football Foundation grant being utilised towards a much larger development at the premises.  


Billy Fox, Football Foundation Technical Project Manager joined the visit in which the party then travelled to The Nest in Horsford to tour Norwich City Community Sport Foundation’s superb new hub site, and The Wellesley in Great Yarmouth where plans to renovate one of Norfolk’s most iconic football venues were discussed.


Head of Facilities & Development at Norfolk FA, Ian Grange conducted the visits and spoke of the future plans for facilities in Norfolk: “It was a pleasure to have the company of both Robert and Billy from the Football Foundation, and to have the opportunity to showcase existing and future projects that we are looking to deliver in Norfolk.  


“Through the Local Football Facility Plan process, we have identified a number of new facility projects that we aspire to deliver in the future, which will enable a broad range of strategic outcomes to be delivered, and will ultimately benefit local communities across the county. We look forward to working with the Football Foundation to bring these projects to life.”

Norfolk FA Chief Executive, Matt Carpenter spoke of the value and impact of Football Foundation Funding: “It was fantastic to meet Robert and Billy last week and discuss the future of facilities not only here in Norfolk, but the exciting plans that the Football Foundation has for supporting the grassroots game Nationwide.

“The Football Foundation, together with the support from its partners The FA, The Premier League and The Government, continue to provide hugely influential funding that make projects like the increasingly impressive facilities we are seeing in Norfolk, possible.

“I’m sure everybody across the country working or volunteering in grassroots football is extremely grateful for their support, and here in Norfolk we’re certainly looking forward to the next ten years of working together.”

After spending over a decade at The FA, Robert was appointed Interim CEO of the Football Foundation in 2020. The Premier League, The FA and Government’s charity, then announced the appointment of Robert as its permanent Chief Executive Officer this year.

In a short interview, Norfolk FA’s Head of Marketing & Communications, Rebecca Burton, spoke to Robert about Norfolk FA’s plans for future developments and the positive impact of funded projects on the grassroots game and local communities:


RB: Robert, welcome! You’ve been here today at our Football Development Centre in Norwich, would you mind telling us a little bit about your thoughts on the facility?

RS: It’s a fantastic facility. I came here 7 years ago, and it was really in its infancy with the County FA and the investment was beginning, but to come back today to see the building and the state of the pitches and the exciting plans for what’s coming next, it’s really great.


RB: You’ve been here today and seen the great work that’s recently been completed with support from The Football Foundation such as the refurbishments and the new County HQ building, and then heard of the plans for the future with ‘Phase 2’ on the horizon – what do you think that will mean for the local community?

RS: I think we shouldn’t underestimate what a thriving Football Development Centre like this can do for the community. The planned developments will give so many more options for usage from 11-aside to small sided, coach development work and disability football, and I think being able to offer that range of opportunity for community play and also elite play, I think it’s just brilliant. I’m really looking forward to coming back and seeing it in full swing.


RB: Outside of The FDC here in Norwich, what are your thoughts on what Norfolk FA are doing around the County with regards to the Local Football Facility Plan and delivering on it.

RS: Norfolk has always been one of the most progressive Counties when it comes to new facility investment and operations, and I think its really great to see so many sites going down, and so much investment coming in with the support of the Football Foundation and the partners of The FA, The Premier League and The Government.

I think Norfolk County FA should be commended for their work here and on other sites, and I’m looking forward to going out today and seeing some of those projects.


RB: Finally, you’re fairly new to this role, coming in as CEO last year, but with a history of work with The FA, on a personal level what kind of an impact are you hoping to have on the grassroots game?

RS: I think for me, football starts with a great place to play, and that’s the be all and end all, and the purpose of the Football Foundation. We’re very fortunate to be well funded by our partners, but we need to take that investment and deliver great places to play in pitches, clubhouses, lighting, fencing, artificial surfaces, improved grass surfaces, in every corner of England.

We have 318 Local Football Facility Plans, that’s one for every local authority in England, and we’re determined that we’re going to deliver all the projects on that list in the next ten years.

For more information about the Football Foundation please visit footballfoundation.org.uk/ and for more information surrounding facility development in Norfolk, please email Ian.Grange@NorfolkFA.com.

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