As a club, our biggest outlay is winter training and for our under 11s teams, this means midweek training at locations such as Perry Barr. The winter locations are driven not by locality, but by price and availability and Perry Barr was the best of a bad bunch of options last year. This has issues for those children in and around Stonnall as it is a relatively long journey on a school night and a significant number of them train far less through the winter as a result.
Securing this funding would enable the children to train at Stonnall Playing Fields during the winter. The main considerations are (a) the need to be considerate to residents’ properties and (b) careful management of the field to ensure that one area is not worn out in the winter months. We’ve listened to advice from Staffs FA and had a demonstration of a product from their preferred supplier. The suggested portable lights have no backlight and are highly portable – on the photograph you will see some yellow bags. The lights are designed to fold away so that they can be set up and taken away each training session. The lights are battery-driven, meaning that there is no generator noise.
We are proposing that our existing midweek training on Tuesday evenings at Stonnall could continue during the winter with these portable lights. Before we can accept any grant which is offered, we need to ensure that the residents of Stonnall are amenable with the idea. The portable floodlights are similar to those already used by Clare Agg at her fitness class on the field last winter. Looking forwards, we have discussed with Clare the possibility of her fitness class also using them on a Tuesday so that more people in the village benefit from their use.
Money for juniors sports is extremely tight, so any help we can get to cut our winter training costs would help us immensely. We are currently struggling as a nation with childhood (and adult) obesity and sporting activities are a major step towards addressing this. We are also enjoying sporting success at the Olympics. These athletes must come from somewhere though, and we should do all we can to afford the younger generation sporting opportunities such as this one. Anything less would be remiss of us.
Update: 19 Aug 2016 – we received approval today for a grant of £1,200 from the Football Foundation and we are currently discussing proposed use of the portable lights with the Stonnall & Lynn Playing Fields Association.