Letter as per Newbury Weekly News 20th April 12016
Once again, the Conservatives are chipping away at the mental and physical health of our children, with no apparent understanding of the facilities they seek to destroy.
At the heart of our town, Newbury Football Club works with 360 youngsters and their families around West Berkshire every week. It is home to not just one but two adult football teams. The team at NFC has also trained more than 70 local people to qualify as Football Association club coaches.
Other Councils would be thanking such an organisation warmly and helping them make the most of their facilities and their ground. They would celebrate the work done by the team in developing physical fitness and team-work in our youngsters, girls as well as boys.
When my own son was growing up, we were fortunate enough to live in the catchment of Brentford FC, a club that works closely with its local authority and whose Football in the Community scheme makes a huge difference to the health and spirit of children in a wide local area.
Here, however, West Berkshire’s Conservatives are about to terminate Newbury Football Club’s lease, even though no plan is in place to do anything with the ground.
Councillors insist they have no responsibility to find the club another home.
Our MP, Richard Benyon, has apparently told the club that the issue is a ‘local matter’ in which it would be inappropriate for him to get involved.
I would like to take the opportunity in this open letter to remind our MP and all Conservative Councillors that it is responsibility of every elected official to work for the good of their local community.
The Conservatives on West Berkshire Council are currently removing school bus routes, which will require children to walk crazily unsafe routes to school, they have cut back drastically on children’s mental health support, and have tried to close our libraries. Now they want to destroy the football club too.
If they do not have some particular axe to grind against the health of our children, I ask Conservative Councillors to please think again and try working with Newbury Football Club to encourage they work it does rather than to destroy such a great and useful organisation.
In the meantime, if you would like to support the club, please sign the petition at http://www.newburyfootball.co.uk/. You can also show your support by coming along to the Penalty Shootout & Fun Day at Newbury Stadium in May 7th
* – * – *
See here for a neat video about the protest by Newbury Football Club.
If you really want to support Newbury Football Club, please vote for Elizabeth O’Keeffe, the Lib Dem candidate on May 5th.