Ossett Town Juniors have completed a Community Amateur Transfer of Springmill Playing Fields from Wakefield Council.
What does this mean?
After years of budget cuts, Wakefield Council were unable to keep the playing pitches up to the standard that they would have liked and so made the decision to lease the facility to Ossett Town Juniors. We have taken full ownership of the land and will take full responsibility for maintaining it at a high cost and to a high standard.
Who are we?
Ossett Town Juniors are a Charter Standard Community Football Club. We have been operating for 25 years and are run fully by volunteers from the committee through to over 70 coaches working throughout the Club every weekend and during the week. The Club has over 350 registered players including boys, girls and ladies playing in 35 teams across 14 age groups making us one of the largest Junior Football Clubs in West Yorkshire. With every single one of our volunteers having Criminal Record Checks and FA qualified coaches, we ensure above all else that children are able to play football in a fun, safe and secure environment.
What’s all this about a project?
Firstly, we are completely renovating not just the pitches but the changing room also. We have a project to put over half a million pounds into Springmill which we are delighted about but it’s also slightly daunting as we have to raise, as volunteers, a large portion of this ourselves!
How will we do this?
We have a Crowdfunding campaign which we hope you will get behind but we also have sponsorship opportunities for the entire Club and the site at Springmill. We have a range of ways in which you can get behind us from a £1 up to £2000! Check out the details here:
Crowdfunding – Help us raise £50,000!
Sponsorship Opportunities – Join us in supporting our Springmill project
Can you tell me more about the project?
We’d love to! For those of you who know Springmill, you may know that the site isn’t very flat. It may look ok to the naked eye but as you walk around the pitches, there are plenty of divots whilst the ground itself is quite undulating with lots of areas that hold water and don’t drain very well. One of the first things that we’ll do on the project is dig up the entire site. There will be primary and secondary level drainage put in place before the site is leveled and grass is re-grown. We also plan to improve access to Springmill as we know that residents, business owners and Golf Club users can be inconvenienced by football traffic. Therefore, the plans include a gravel based car park (to be closed out of hours), at the far end of the site.
What are the benefits?
Plenty! There’s the obvious benefits to Ossett Town Juniors in terms of beautiful playing pitches available throughout the year* but there are many other hidden benefits. On completion, the available playing pitch space will increase by a third and plans are in place to hold other community events at Springmill such as funfairs, galas , tournaments and family fitness sessions. What’s more, the changing room refurbishment will see a small mixed use area be installed allowing other community groups to make use of the space. The site will benefit current and future young people in Ossett and surrounding areas.
* It’s a common misconception that football only takes place during some months of the year. Some of our age groups only take a couple of weeks off in the summer and we usually have tournaments and other activities going on in the holidays!
What have been the problems so far?
Aside from the boggy pitches during periods of wet weather, the site has also been damaged in the past by cars, quad and motorbikes. We’ve had people rip out goalposts, dig holes in the pitches and walk dogs (and let them foul) and horses across the playing areas. The changing rooms have also been vandalised – windows smashed, doors kicked through, downpipes and guttering stolen and graffiti sprayed on the walls. We recognise that Springmill is a community space but clearly, we’re not prepared to put in a significant initial and annual investment to end up with the same problems. We also recognise that not everyone is irresponsible and therefore, although we will be fencing off the playing pitches themselves, access will remain from Flushdyke down the side of the pitches to Whitley Spring Crescent and also down Springmill Lane to Queens Drive.
What will the future hold?
We hope that not only will this facility be an asset for Ossett Town Juniors for many years to come but that, along with Springmill Golf Course, the playing fields will be an asset for the entire community of Ossett. Projects such as this, and the Golf Club, show just what is possible when a community comes together and makes Ossett a really special place.
Where can I get more information or how can I get involved?
We are always looking for new players and volunteers and are happy to provide more information on the Springmill project. Please email email@example.com as a first port of call.