Football sessions for Ely youngsters

PUBLISHED: 11:06 11 December 2006 | UPDATED: 13:39 04 May 2010

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FOOTBALL, friendship and the public sector have helped - deal with a complaint, utilise an unused play area and given young people the opportunity to do something they love doing. After a number of complaints about young people playing football on a small

FOOTBALL, friendship and the public sector have helped - deal with a complaint, utilise an unused play area and given young people the opportunity to do something they love doing.

After a number of complaints about young people playing football on a small area of grass on St Andrew's Way in Ely, sports development and community safety officers from East Cambs District Council looked into what could be done to deal with the problem.

By talking to the young people, officers discovered that they wanted to use Priors Field, just off St Andrew's Way, but there were a number of problems. They said the grass was too long, there were no goal posts, and no benches to sit on when the games were finished.

East Cambridgeshire District Council teamed up with Cambridgeshire police and Cambridge United to confront these issues. The grass at Priors Field is now cut on a weekly basis, goal posts have been set up and coaching sessions have taken place with the help of Cambridge United Football in the Community Team. More than 20 young people aged between 7 to 15 years old have now taken part in these sessions.

Jenny Lowe, sports development officer at ECDC, said: "The young people have been really excited about this whole project, they have got somewhere they can play and more importantly are developing their social as well as their football skills. We have shown just by listening to young people and finding out what they need, we can make their lives and the community better.

"As a council it is our job to help people, to provide services which can make a difference and by working in partnership with others we have made a significant positive impact in this area of Ely. We are really proud to have helped improve the lives of so many people and we hope to help more in the future."

Gaynor Fisher, coach at Cambridge United Football in the Community, said: "The project is seen by us as very worthwhile for the young people who have taken part in the coaching and they have got a lot of enjoyment from it. Cambridge United is happy to support the local council with this project and it is hoped that it continues to grow and develop.

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