Taking football back to its grassroots

With the announcement of the launch of the Legacy Foundation housing scheme in 2016, three famous footballers – Mark Noble, Bobby Zamora and Rio Ferdinand –decided to give back to the community by setting up a social housing scheme in Houghton Regis, Luton.

This £400 million plan includes football training academies and other sports academies for the children within the community to use; gyms and other leisure facilities along with social housing and privately rented accommodation.

“We have spent years trying to figure out how we can make a difference to our communities. We recognise that during times of austerity Local Authorities are looking for innovative ways of delivering social and affordable housing for their tenants,” Ferdinand said.

Houghton Regis housing scheme

Houghton Regis housing scheme plans

Their biggest aim for the scheme is to make it accessible and affordable for all, and to help the most deprived areas which need it the most.

Legacy are working with local councils to ensure this project delivers exactly what the communities need, of which they hope to create a legacy for future generations.

  • Anthony and Jaden training together
    Anthony and Jaden training together

Jason Longhurst, Director of Regeneration and Business at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “This partnership with Legacy is a first and will create a new benchmark in the development of attractive, well-designed communities.  We are all committed to ensure local people are provided with homes, not houses, in a place in which they can thrive and which we will deliver this at pace.”

The retired footballers each wanted to give back to families who come from similar humble beginnings as their own.

The sports academies and facilities are being built with the goal to improve the lifestyle of working class families, and the footballers will each take turns coaching football sessions once a month in the sports academy.




Featured Image by Amy Latham