Improvement of the outdoor sporting facilities in the Flixton, Urmston & Davyhulme area.

Improvement of the outdoor sporting facilities in the Flixton, Urmston & Davyhulme area.

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Mike Meikleham started this petition to Kate Green (Shadow Education Secretary) and

Dear Mrs.Green & Mr.Burnham,

I am writing to express my proposal in the advancement of outdoor public sporting facilities.

On the 31st March 2020 Sport England proposed a £195 million package to help sport and physical activity during coronavirus.

The financial breakdown of this proposal consists of a £20 million Community Emergency Fund, which will be opened immediately for clubs and community organisations to bid into. A £5 million pot for existing partners to bid into if they're facing specific financial difficulty. An additional £55 million to support our sector during an on-going period of restrictions, to fund new and innovative ways to keep people active and, when the period of restrictions is over, to help organisations get back to business and adjust to a different environment 

Finally a £115 million rollover of current funding into 2021/22 to give long-term certainty to over 100 well established partners who play a vital role in the delivery of sport and physical activity in England. 

The Chief Executive Officer of Sport England Tim Hollingsworth made a statement on the 10th June 2020:

“We believe that innovation can play a fundamental role in helping people overcome these challenges so they can lead more active lives, and in turn help tackle the inequalities that exist within society.”

“What is important to reinforce is that innovation doesn't have to be complicated.”

“Small ideas that are local, simple and start with people at the heart can be the most effective."

After this statement was made a former tutor from Loughborough University reached out to me in an Alumni Group on LinkedIn for ex-engineering students to help solve this problem proposed by Sport England. The winning submission receives £50,000 from the National Lottery fund. This is something that I have worked on and submitted a proposal for. Aside from the submission, I want to push this matter further by reaching out to you with a direct proposition. May I add, this is not a new concern that has come to fruition from the 31st March and just happens to have light shed on the matter due to Covid-19. A lack of outdoor public facilities is a growing concern that echoes throughout generations from the entire Urmston Community. 

I have been living in Amsterdam for the last 14 months and the amount of concrete cages and artificial turf pitches that are situated within the city is overwhelming. These are all free to use. Please see the attached figure highlighting the 100+ football pitches within the 84.7 square miles of the Dutch Capital. Urmston occupies an area of 7.5 square miles with a population of 41,825 (UK Consenus, 2011) and we have 3, public, free to use, concrete football cages.

Three.

Having lived in Urmston for 25 years I am well aware of the outdoor sporting facilities that are on offer and with a large amount of fields usually flooded due to the Manchester climate or poor drainage, kids cannot simply take a ball for a kick about anymore. Moreover, football posts are taken down from local fields by the council during school summer holidays, a time where they are needed the most.

Growing up I would always play football on the street with my friends. But with the average car ownership per household rising 13% from 1.05 to 1.18 (Nimblefins, 2018) and registered vehicles on the road increasing by 7,482,899 since the start of the century (Nimblefins, 2019) it is no longer safe to do so.

Innumerable Mum’s & Dad’s have spent quarantine installing artificial turf in their back garden with samba nets just so their children can play sport. This should not be necessary, these facilities should be provided by the council.

Grass roots is the backbone of English Sport and the decline in interest on this topic is profound. Having to rely on willing and motivated parents to volunteer and run local sports clubs and organisations is starting to become a burden as well as having a negative impact on that individual’s mental health. These facilities should be on our doorstep and available to everyone.

As Mr.Hollingsworth stated, this innovation does not have to be complicated, this small idea needs to start local, be simple, and start with people at the heart so it can be most effective.

If it isn’t clear by now, I am proposing that a small percentage of the National Lottery fund available via Sport England is utilised by installing a minimum of 20 concrete multi-purpose football / basketball cages around the Urmston area.

I hope this letter finds you both well.

Kind Regards,

Mike Meikleham

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