Warwick Juniors in need of ‘home’

Warwick Juniors are appealing for help to find a new ground to call their own.''Pictured: Nathan Hicks, Dean Brandrick, James Shaw together with the junior players. NNL-141120-092707009

Warwick Juniors are appealing for help to find a new ground to call their own.''Pictured: Nathan Hicks, Dean Brandrick, James Shaw together with the junior players. NNL-141120-092707009

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A successful local junior football side is making a desperate plea: ‘Please help us find a home’.

In the past two years Warwick Juniors Football Club has been named as County Club of the Year but recognised as being in the top seven per cent of junior clubs in the country after being awarded FA Charter Standard Community Status.

But amazingly, one thing they do not have, is a ground to call their own.

Since the club was founded by Dean Brandrick and other volunteers in 2001, it has grown to some 400 players aged between four and 18. In addition there are now teams for young men and women.

But the 17 league teams still have to play on borrowed pitches that can be anywhere in or around the borders of the town.

Mr Brandrick said: “We borrow the sports fields at Aylesford School, Myton, Trinity, Newburgh Primary, and the outfield of Warwick Cricket Club.

“The growth of new housing developments in and around Warwick has led to a real shortage of land available for sports facilities for young people.

“As our community status suggests, we serve the local area and provide footballing opportunities for boys and girls. One of the players we trained, 17-year-old Jess Carter, debuted for the England Women’s team and scored against Norway.

“What we don’t have is a ground of our own or the support of the district council which could perhaps provide us with some seed money and help to identify the 20 acres we need to develop a community amenity.”

Mr Brandrick, who is the club’s secretary, has written to Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White who has agreed to meet with him to see what, if anything, can be done to identify some suitable land.

Club chairman Jim Ellis said: “The Government’s stated policy is that playing sport helps to keep people healthy and is good for communities.

“Some 18 per cent of the children we cater for are likely to be obese and so we are doing our best to support Warwick’s priority actions in relation to the local health profile issued by Public Health Warwickshire.

“Unfortunately no-one seems to be able to help us. Land previously intended for sports facilities for young people has been sold by local authorities to developers at incredibly high prices. This makes it impossible for community organisations like ours to be self-sufficient.”

Two years ago club volunteers did approach Severn Trent to see if the land surrounding the sewage works opposite Chase Meadow might be available.

At the time it was not, although some of the 40 acres there are also owned by the district and county council.

In the latest amendments to the Local Plan currently being consulted on, some of the site is now being recommended for employment land and a permanent Gypsy and travellers’ site.