New playing fields for Toxteth

16.10.2012

The district which gave birth to soccer stars like Robbie Fowler and Kevin Nolan this week saw the official opening of Admiral Park Recreation Ground following an £86,000 refurbishment.

TOXTETH has grassed football pitches again after a group of organisations came together to make it happen.

The district which gave birth to soccer stars like Robbie Fowler and Kevin Nolan this week saw the official opening of Admiral Park Recreation Ground following an £86,000 refurbishment.

The pitches on the site of a former school were originally created in 2004 but had to close in 2010 due to safety problems with the groundworks which saw them lay derelict until now.

The have been brought back into use due to a partnership between Neighbourhood investor Plus Dane Group, Liverpool City Council, the Football Foundation and Tesco.

As part of the deal Plus Dane has contracted community interest company Target Football, who are running football tournaments and Saturday soccer sessions for young children, to manage the facility.

Plus Dane’s managing Director Gerard Murden said: "It was really important for the neighbourhood to get this facility into use and shows what can be achieved when organisations come together to fund things that the community says that they want – this sort of neighbourhood investment is the way forward."

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Cllr Steve Munby, added: "It is very important that we foster grassroots activities and provide the facilities for sports stars of the future. It is also a great way of bringing people from different backgrounds and cultures together."

Plus Dane’s environmental service INES worked with Fair Play Consulting’s Gary White to bring the pitches back into use, with innovative drainage and the painstaking removal of years of debris and litter. INES has also donated an electric van to Target Football, who are involved in several sports schemes in the area.

Head of INES, Joe Feely, said: "I come from this area and used to play here as a boy when it was just a tarmac pitch, there were no grassed pitches for miles and people used to have to go out of the area to play. This is now the best bit of grass in Toxteth and we’re all enormously proud of what we’ve helped to achieve."

Several local schools will use the pitches, including St Patrick’s, St Cleopas, Holy Family, Windsor Street, St Silas, and Matthew Arnold Primary.

Saturday soccer sessions take place 11am-12pm for 7-8-year olds and 12-1pm for under 12s, costing £3.

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: "I am delighted to see this facility fully refurbished and once again ready for use by the local community. The Plus Dane Group has worked tirelessly in partnership with Liverpool County FA to reach this stage and everyone involved deserves great credit for their efforts. The Foundation supports grass roots projects like Admiral Park with investment from our funding partners – the Premier League, FA, Government and Sport England – so that as many people as possible, of all ages, can enjoy the national game."