Walkers unveils football community hub in Leicester

13 Sep 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

Walkers has funded the creation of a brand-new football pitch in its home town of Leicester which is made from empty crisp packets.

The five a side pitch, which is located at New Parks Team Hub in Leicester, will provide a space for local residents to play football, but will also act as a community hub for residents and aims to drive positive change with the introduction of a year’s worth of educational sports programmes, mental health workshops, employability interventions and football fitness sessions, also funded by Walkers.

Additional funding has also been provided locally by The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation, as well as support from Leicester City Council.

The initiative, coined Walkers RePlay, has been created in partnership with UEFA Foundation for children and streetfootballworld, and locally with the Cruyff Foundation, Leicester City in the Community and Team Hub CIC. It is the first of its kind in the UK, and one of five PepsiCo is funding globally as part of the ‘RePlay’ initiative.

Empty crisp packets collected from recycling partnerships have been used to create the underlying layer beneath the turf of the pitch, giving them a second life, and beyond the turf, PepsiCo has also committed to a net zero carbon footprint for its Lay’s and Walkers pitches, identifying a central reforestation offsetting project for 2021.

Further programmes are taking place around the world, and will provide a breadth of opportunities for communities. They aim to instil the importance of respect, fairness, collaboration and inclusion in wider society.

“At Walkers, we know how vital sport can be in bringing people together, which is why we are proud to have created and donated this space for the Leicester community to learn new skills and make new bonds through the power of football,” said Fernando Kahane, Senior Marketing Director, Walkers.

“As a brand, we aim to bring positivity and levity to communities across the UK. Through the Walkers RePlay football pitch and educational programmes, we hope to unite the Leicester community and drive positive outcomes for its residents.”

Urs Kluser, General Secretary, UEFA Foundation for Children. said: “Football is not only the number one sport in the UK, but it is also a great platform to create solidarity projects for those in need. We know a passion for football can last a lifetime and thanks to the Walkers RePlay initiative we’ll be able to preserve the magic of football and give hope to those in the Leicester community who need it most.

“Together we have created a hub to inspire young people and teach them the values of respect, discipline and teamwork.

“These lessons will have a long-term impact on the community and will bring positive change for years to come.”

Leicester City legends Gary Lineker, Emile Heskey, Matt Elliott, and Steve Walsh reunited to unveil the new pitch, and hosted warm up skills sessions alongside Leicester City Women’s stars Sophie Barker, Ashleigh Plumptre, and Abbie McManus.  The sessions were followed by football matches between community teams managed by Gary Lineker, Steve Walsh and Matt Elliott.