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footballs being kicked on a field

Knowsley Council steps in to support Whiston Juniors Go Fund Me campaign

by Cathy Sheel

Knowsley Council has confirmed it will be stepping in to support Whiston Juniors FC after the pitches the Club use for training and matches flooded.

Recently a Go Fund Me campaign was set up by the Club to raise money to clear the site and repair the pitches. Whiston Town Council are the current leaseholders of the land, and contract Knowsley Council to cut the grass and mark out the pitches.

Now, Knowsley Council has confirmed that it will provide the funding and resources to carry out the drainage works required at the site. This will allow training and matches to begin again once national lockdown restrictions are lifted.

What’s more, the Council has also committed to take back the lease from the current leaseholder, Whiston Town Council. This will allow Knowsley Council to work directly with Whiston Juniors to improve the maintenance on site to ensure the pitches remain in good condition and are consistently usable. Knowsley Council also want to work with the Club in the coming years to bring more than £1 million worth of investment to the site, as a result of the adjacent Halsnead Garden Village development.

Chris Hunt from Whiston Juniors said: ‘Whiston Juniors are thankful for the quick response and support of Knowsley Council in dealing with the issues at Mellors pond and Whiston Juniors Football Club playing field. Our main aim is to get the playing fields back operational ready for the children in the local community to use once lockdown restrictions are lifted. We really are so thankful for all the support and help received.”

The site currently used by Whiston Juniors is leased by Whiston Town Council (a separate organisation to Knowsley Council). It is the Town Council that is currently responsible for ensuring the site is maintained and fit for purpose. However, given the issues on site, Knowsley Council has recently confirmed that it will take back the lease from April 2022. This will allow the local authority to introduce a more proactive and robust maintenance programme and bring significant investment to improve and enhance the site.

Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council commented:

“Knowsley Council appreciates how important it is to keep the site well maintained and invest its future. This will allow local young people to continue to use these valuable facilities.

We are currently working with private sector partners to deliver Halsnead Garden Village, located adjacent to the fields used by Whiston Juniors. Halsnead Garden Village will create a new community in Whiston and include 1600 new homes, 22 hectares of employment land and a Country Park.  Importantly, as a result of this project, developers have committed to investing in local facilities – a key part of that being the enhancement of green and recreational spaces.

We want to harness that investment to secure improvements and upgrades to the facilities Whiston Juniors use. The Club is such an important part of the local community that it seems only right to use this new investment for the benefit of current families and young people.

We really look forward to working with the Club.”

The Council has arranged for Tarmac to drain the site this week.