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In Full . . .

THE VILLAGE VIEW

Posted on September 29 2014 at 12:07:46

The official opening of the new, improved Meadows football pitch in Alvechurch is the culmination of an eight-year campaign to ensure that village youngsters can enjoy sport all year round – and for years to come.

It was in 2006 when village resident Lorna Sage got in touch with this magazine to share her concerns about the state of the field, which had once been a wonderful facility for the village but had become unusable during much of the year due to it being waterlogged.

Lorna was determined that the pitch should be restored to its former glory, and other residents also wrote in to The Village in support.

Alvechurch Parish Council, the trustee of The Meadows (or Wiggin Playing Field, to give it its formal name) hearkened to this call for action and agreed to do its bit – including asking Bromsgrove District Council if there was any available funding to drain the field.

Hopes were raised when Bromsgrove came up with a £70,000 plan to improve recreation facilities in both Alvechurch and Hopwood, only to be dashed again as the offer came with strings attached: a set of conditions that were impossible for the parish to meet.

These included an agreement that Alvechurch Lions FC had to gain and maintain FA “community club” status – but how could they do that without a decent pitch to play on during the year or two the playing fields were being upgraded?

Undaunted, the parish council, in partnership with the Lions and Alvechurch Cricket Club, then put together a bid to the Sport England Olympic Legacy Fund. Happily this was successful, and £33,000 was awarded to the partnership for drainage and general improvement.

And so, as Sajid Javid MP (and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) declared the pitch open (below), players, coaches, councillors and residents could celebrate a great triumph for community action.

The Lions at last have a permanent home, and junior football will now be available to more young people – the England stars of the future.

Sajid unveils plaque


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