Saturday, 13 April 2013

Halty Junior Football

Haltwhistle United Football Club Juniors team is booming in terms of numbers but is suffering from a lack of facilities. With over 80 youngsters already signed up the club is struggling to provide a suitable place to play. Last week local people, like Susan and Martin, asked to come and see me to see if there was any way I could help; they are amongst the many local people who give up their time to help make football happen on the Tyne pitch by the A69 Roundabout. I took along the local County Councillor Ian Hutchinson. We met to talk through the problems, pitfalls and opportunities and then went down to the Tyne pitch to watch the teams of girls and boys train. One thing is clear - the facilities are spartan!
Currently there is one pitch which is mainly used for the under 16's team. That is leaving at least 5 teams of enthusiastic young footballers either doubling up on the same pitch or with nowhere to play. Clearly the pitch, which is already next to a river, struggles from overuse.
The County Council owns the land by the A 69 roundabout. At the request of HUFC officers I have asked for a meeting next Thursday at 4.30 in Hexham, with a few key representatives of the Club, and the County Council officer, to start a dialogue: we hope to try and sit down and work out exactly how we can help improve the future of one of Tynedale's fastest growing junior football teams. At he same time everyone locally understands, and accepts, that there is also a need to ensure that if at some point in the future there is possible future business development then this site has been earmarked, in part, for such a use.
I firmly believe a compromise can be found, whereby the dedicated team of local volunteers who run the club get better facilities and the County Council get what they want.
I should stress that the development of the Burn pitch would not solve this problem. If the Burn pitch development goes ahead then there will still be a need at the Tyne pitch.
If you have not gone along to a game at the Tyne pitch I urge you to go. You cannot fail to be impressed by the hard work local people have put into making the club a success, and it was just fantastic to see young boys and lots of girls enthusiastically engaged in a game it was clear that they all loved. You will need to wrap up, and I suggest go to the loo before you go!
I see no reason why football and future jobs cannot co-exist for the mutual benefit of the town.