Final ‘Save our pitch’ plea from Cally Kids

Final ‘Save our pitch’ plea from Cally Kids

Youth worker Stephen Griffith, Ahmed Faid and Jesse Ndjeka are campaigning to save the only free 11-a-side pitch in Islington.

A LAST-ditch attempt to ­persuade the Town Hall to keep a full-sized football pitch in Barnard Park is being made by young people around the Cally.

The controversial bid to reduce the size of the 11-a-side pitch by 70 per cent as part of a redesign of the park has split opinion in the area. Last summer, councillors deferred making a decision over fears that too much space was being ­taken away from sporting use in Islington Council’s plan.

That the park needs an upgrade, and the poor surface on the pitch particularly, is not in dispute. The council says a full consultation has already taken place and the Tribune understands a compromise, in the form of a 9-a-side pitch, could be put before councillors in the next few months.

But young people at the Copenhagen Youth Project, just around the corner, have recently received funding to hold three public meetings around the Barnsbury and Bemerton estates to raise awareness of the pitch reduction.

Ahmed Faid, who is currently making a film about the issue, said many of his peers were not aware of the plan, and so had not objected.

“For me, it’s crazy to reduce the size of the pitch,” said Mr Faid, an economics student. “Anyone who wants to use it can use it for free. There are 100 kids out there training some days, and that’s in winter.”

Concerns have been raised that the council plan, backed by the Friends of Barnard Park, will create a “village green”-style park for residents who live immediately around it. Some have said football causes a disturbance due to the floodlights, noise, and balls kicked into gardens.

Read the full article in the Islington Tribune (March 17th) HERE