Knutsford is digging its new pitch

18 May 2012 Last updated at 17:55

  • Councillor Stewart Gardiner with community development officer Lucy Beesley

The Mayor of Knutsford, Stewart Gardiner, marked a momentous day for the people of Knutsford by making the first dig of the brand-new football pitch and multi-use games area for which the town has just secured funding.

Richard Smith, grant manager for WREN, was also there to witness the topping out ceremony. Through the Waste Recycling Group Ltd landfill communities funds distributed by WREN, and with cash from Connexions Youth Capital Fund and Knutsford Town Council, the young people of Longridge have finally achieved their dreams of improving the town’s recreational facilities.
 
After organising their own petition, Manchester-based Great Places Housing Group helped the young people to create a DVD and submit a funding application. It also supported local residents and partners group Community Spirit to bid for £50,000 from WREN, an organisation which provides grants to projects which enhance the environment.
 
 

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Great Places are pleased to have been a part of the consultation and funding process and know the real difference this will make to so many peoples’ lives. A big thank you must go to all partners involved.

Stephen Porter, chief executive of Great Places Housing Group
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The money comes at a time when residents were beginning to give up hope on creating a safe place for youngsters to play football and other games. Despite supervised play sessions organised by Great Places and Cheshire East Sports and Play Development, the community has had to make do with hired venues rather than a dedicated play facility that they could take ownership of.
 
Great Places has been working alongside Cheshire East Council for a number of years, consulting with residents to ensure the play facilities fitted exactly with the needs of the community. With Cheshire East Council offering the land and site for the pitch, Great Places was instrumental helping to raise money. Support from the Children’s Centre, the local police, fire service, Manchester Airport and local youth clubs, have all helped the community achieve their goal.
 
Stephen Porter, chief executive of Great Places Housing Group, said: "This is a great achievement for the Longridge and Shaw Heath community who have been waiting for this facility for some time and have been instrumental in the success of the bid. Great Places are pleased to have been a part of the consultation and funding process and know the real difference this will make to so many peoples’ lives. A big thank you must go to all partners involved."
 
Stewart Gardiner, the Mayor of Knutsford, said: "I am really pleased that the monies for this project have been secured and that the Town Council in partnership with Great Places and WREN are able to join forces to finance and provide  a much need facility for this area of Town. I truly hope that the new pitch will be an asset to the local community and who knows it might even inspire the career of a future Premier League star."

Marianne Hogdkinson, parks management officer at Cheshire East Council said: “We are delighted to have worked with Great Places and Community Spirit to enable the provision of much needed additional recreational opportunities for the local community and visitors to the Longridge area."

Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: “We are delighted to have helped out on this important project and I am sure that the local community will make the most of the new football pitch and games area. Anything that encourages young people to exercise and enjoy themselves is to be encouraged.”

“After extensive local consultations and successful funding bids we are looking forward to the project starting on site soon to create the new football pitch area, hard standing year round football court and an access path, complimented by bench seating, bins and a sign. Cheshire East Council would like to thank all of those involved who have worked so very hard to provide this for everyone to enjoy.”

Richard Smith, Grant Manager for WREN, said: “The Longridge recreation ground is an excellent example of a dedicated group of young people getting together to make a positive difference to their community. We are delighted to be involved in this project and hope to see the area completed soon and being enjoyed.”
 
Work on the facilities, which form phase three in Cheshire East Council’s play development scheme, should take approximately six weeks to complete.