Friday, January 12, 2007

Football Pitch at Kensington Meadows - A Step Closer!

Young footballers are celebrating after receiving a grant to bring the sport back to a green space near London Road. Kensington Meadows was once a popular spot for informal sporting contests, with friends gathering for kick-abouts and others regularly setting up cricket wickets. For many years the area has been ignored by all but dog walkers. But trails have been taking place in the meadows' nature reserve during recent months, boosting awareness of the green space. Now a 14-strong group of youngsters have started to gather to play football on Sunday afternoons, with jumpers for goalposts. But last night a cheque for more than £1,300 was handed over to the Walcot Wanderers Youth team to pay for new goalposts, with the aim of having a coaching day for the team later in the year.

One of the Wanderers, Karin Harwood, who lives in Snow Hill, said they were very pleased to have won the grant from Bath and North East Somerset Council's Youth Bank scheme.

The informal group prepared their application with the support of Cllr David Dixon (Lib Dem, Walcot) and Karim attended an interview with the fellow teenagers on the Youth Bank panel who decided their fate. The 18-year-old said: "There's nothing to do round here but cause trouble, so we thought we'd try to start a team and have something to look forward to."I'm really am pretty happy about getting the grant and can't wait for them to put in the posts."

Cllr Dixon became involved when the youngsters approached him asking for help to improve the meadows for young people. "I initially told them there wouldn't be money available from the council and that we could look elsewhere," said Cllr Dixon. "Then the council's leisure team told me about Youth Bank, so I handed it over as the applications are made by young people and decided by their peers."

This is good news that started with friends having a kick around. Now it can kick start a lot more for young people."

Money left from installing goalposts will go towards a free coaching day in the spring. The response to this day will then be used to see if there is enough interest for regular coaching of other youth sports to be organised at the meadows.

The group received its Youth Bank cheque from the chairwoman of B &NES Council, Cllr Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst (Lib Dem, Newbridge), at a presentation ceremony last night.