WITH development underway at the Winklebury Sports Complex, Basingstoke’s MP has championed grass roots football in the area.

Maria Miller recently visited the site, which is currently having a new 3G pitch constructed in preparation for increased usage including the planned move of Basingstoke Town Community Football Club (BTCFC).

As well as being the new home of BTCFC the 3G pitch will be used by grass roots clubs including Winklebury Wizards.

Once the work is completed the site will provide a state of the art facility for footballers in the area, which will be available year round, from 9am to 10pm, seven days a week.

During the visit to the Winklebury facility, Mrs Miller was joined by deputy leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Cllr Simon Bound.

The pair took the opportunity to find out more about the work that the FA and Hampshire FA are doing to increase diversity and inclusion in local grassroots football.

In recognition of her support for the grassroots game in Basingstoke, Maria was awarded the FA’s “Grassroots Champion” award by Neil Cassar, CEO of Hampshire FA.

Mr Cassar said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to show Maria our new facility in Winklebury and to update her on the great work being done locally to support diversity and inclusion in grassroots football. We’ve now got 40 Respect Leagues running throughout the county and our committed staff and volunteers do fantastic work to ensure the local game happens week in and week out and is accessible for everyone.”

The visit was also part of the #FootballFootprint Campaign which is being run by the FA, in conjunction with local county FAs, to give MPs an opportunity to meet with staff and volunteers that make grassroots football possible at a local level.