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Progress on council partnership to improve grassroots football facilities

The 3G pitch at Ysgol Clywedog (Pic: Wrexham Council)

AN UPDATE will be given on a football partnership between Wrexham Council and the sport’s local governing bodies set up to provide a boost to the grassroots game.

Next week the council’s environment scrutiny committee will be brought up to speed on the Wrexham Football Partnership which is helping local teams taking on the upkeep of their pitches and pavilions which are owned by the council.

Described in a report by lead member for the environment, Rossett Cllr Hugh Jones (Con) as “an ambitious vision for football in Wrexham”, the partnership aims to support;

  • Provision for different age groups.
  • Improved female facilities and participation.
  • More sustainable football clubs with appropriate access to facilities.
  • Improved grass pitches.
  • Access to 3G pitch facilities.
  • Greater club ownership and management of facilities.

The report covers ongoing work to develop and improve outdoor sports facilities in Wrexham, including tennis courts and bowling greens.

Partnering with the council are the Football Association of Wales (FAW Trust), the North East Wales Football Association, Wrexham AFC, and local league clubs in order to develop a strategic plan for the future of grassroots football in Wrexham.

The report says: “This partnership has attracted funding (from FAW Trust, Wrexham Council and elsewhere) in order to provide improved 3G facilities at school sites across Wrexham.

“In addition, the partnership has engaged with a number of football clubs who are interested in working towards transferring the pitch and pavilion assets.

“The partnership is currently working on creating an updated vision and strategy for football in Wrexham, and are engaging with clubs in all communities to understand their current and future demands/requirements and develop a long term plan for investment and improvement.”

In the last six years the partnership has brought investment and improvements to four ‘3G hubs’ based at schools Ysgol Clywedog, Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, Ysgol y Grango and Ysgol Rhosnesni.

These facilities are managed by the schools themselves or Freedom Leisure and are bookable for local football teams outside of school hours. Investment has come from the FAW Trust, and FAW grassroots facilities fund, along with capital investment from Wrexham Council.

According to the report, the partnership will continue to seek investment for additional 3G hub facilities, and its ambition is to provide these at all secondary school sites across the county borough and has developed a priority list for investment.

It adds: “In addition to the development of 3G hubs, the partnership is working with a small number of football clubs who are considering taking over the management and maintenance of their home-grounds through asset-transfer.

“The intention is that these clubs would then have greater control over the development and improvement of their own facilities, and opportunities for investment (e.g. grant funding) would become available.

“This is a significant responsibility for the clubs to take on, and support is being provided/has been offered through Wrexham Council’s business enterprise team to enable clubs to ensure that they have appropriate governance etc. in place before proceeding with this arrangement.

“Currently the Wrexham Football Partnership are in the process of drafting an updated vision and strategy for grassroots football in Wrexham.

“Part of this work is engaging directly with local football clubs to understand their current and expected future demands, their aspirations and some of the barriers to progress they currently see.”

Work will continue on this strategy development until the end of 2023, with the intention to facilitate an all-member workshop in order to get direct input from councillors.

Wrexham Council currently manages more than 30 football pitches at 14 different sites across the county, of which 12 sites have changing rooms, pavilions or toilets.

The homes and environment scrutiny committee meets on Wednesday (November 15).