TWO grassroots youth football clubs in Hillingdon are aiming to take on long-term leases of their grounds. 

Wealdstone, established in 2008, provides football for 49 teams of mixed abilities aged 4-18 at New Pond Playing Fields, Ruislip. 

Ickenham is a community club formed in 2006, which offers football for more than 500 young people (13 age groups) aged 4-18 at Hillingdon House Farm, Uxbridge.  

Following applications last year by Hillingdon Council, both clubs have been accepted on to the Football Foundation’s Home Advantage Programme.

This aims to support grassroots clubs to take on long-term leases or licences of the sites where they play. 

Wealdstone and Ickenham will have guidance from the Foundation and The FA as part of the programme. They will also get legal advice to help make the transfer process as easy as possible. 

They can apply for up to £250,000 funding from the Foundation to improve the sites with security fencing, storage units, ground maintenance machinery and catering cabins. 

Having a permanent home will enable the clubs to not only further cement their place in the community but also to grow and generate their own income.  

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Cabinet Member for Residents' Services, said: “[It] will allow the clubs to take more ownership of the places they call home.” 

Spencer Dargue, chairman of Wealdstone Youth, said: Securing the New Pond Playing Fields site will have a massively positive impact on the future for our club.”

Gavin Shepherd, chairman of Ickenham Youth, added: “We hope to use this opportunity as a way of building a closer connection with those outside our football community.”