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PM Theresa May opens Burnley's new £4.5m Leisure Box

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Prime Minister Theresa May has made a surprise visit to Lancashire, to open a community leisure facility developed by a Premier League club.

The £4.5m Leisure Box forms part of a larger phased development at a historic mill site in the town and will be managed by Burnley FC in the Community (BFCC) – the official charity of Burnley Football Club.

Facilities at the centre include an indoor 40m x 30m 3G synthetic pitch, sports hall, cricket lanes, a health club with a large gym floor and group exercise studio, café, classrooms and a youth club space.

The Leisure Box has been developed on the site of a former textile mill which had sat derelict for a decade.

The facility was funded in partnership by BFCC and the Football Foundation.

“This is a fantastic facility and it’s a great credit to Burnley Football Club in the Community for what they have done in working with others and supporting this," said PM Theresa May.

“I don’t know of any other football club who has developed a facility like this and provided sporting opportunities for local children that they wouldn’t have elsewhere.

“It’s hugely important to have such a regeneration project in the heart of the community and Burnley Football Club can be proud in proving that football and sport can be a force for good.

"Many people support their local football club and seeing them put something back into the community is hugely important.”

Lancashire Football Association will work with BFCC on a number of initiatives which aim to grow participation in hard-to-reach groups. These include a Walking Football Programme for the elderly, Premier League Kicks sessions – which uses football to help troubled youngsters – and the creation of six new disability teams.

It is expected to result in a growth of 450 people playing football at the site over the next five years, of which, 168 will be participating in disability football programmes.

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Prime Minister Theresa May has made a surprise visit to Lancashire to open a community leisure facility developed in partnership with a Premier League club.