Tuesday, 7 August 2012

MEP Takes Sport Campaign to Downing Street - Youth provisions are simply not good enough



An appalled Euro MP has been horrified to discover that youth provisions in Aston are on a level of those she encountered on a trip to Gaza, in the Middle East.

Nikki Sinclaire, independent MEP for the West Midlands, made the discovery through local charity Bidgley Power, which helps fund sports activities in the area.

Bidgley Power approached Ms Sinclaire about current plans to close down a local sports centre. Aston Arena is just weeks from closure, despite Bidgley Power approaching Birmingham County Council with a plan to take over the centre with the vision to run it is an affordable non-for-profit centre to include all sectors of the community.  The council plans to build a high tech business park in its place as it delivers its 15 year Area Action Plan (AAP).

After meetings with their group, she was made aware of a container on Mansfield Green which had been set up for youths to use. The container is currently not in use.

Her finding of this site was just the tip of the iceberg, after discovering there is little to no affordable sporting facilities available to the community at evenings and weekends.

With high levels of unemployment and lower than average house hold incomes, expensive private sporting facilities are out of reach for local residents who are increasingly frustrated as affordable sports services appear to decrease.

Ms Sinclaire and volunteers of the charity will head to Downing Street on Wednesday to present a petition to save Aston Arena, as well as highlighting the urgent need for sports services that meet the community’s needs.

Among those who will make the journey to Number 10 is Pritesh Pattni, who was a torchbearer in the run up to the London Olympics.

Pritesh Pattni, Olympic torchbearer and a volunteer in the area for 25 years

Mr Pattni has volunteered for over 25 years, and is chairman of Bidgley Power, a charity that organises and subsidise sporting activities for the community in Aston, despite problems in accessing facilities to hold sports sessions.

Nikki said, “During a time when the Olympics dominates our consciousness, what will happen to the 5 year old in Aston who wants to emulate the sporting heroes they see on screen, yet they have no facilities to do so.

The people of Aston feel forgotten about. Sport is a way of engaging communities, and connecting those of all ages.

I support Bidgley Power’s plan for Aston Arena and their wider philosophy of establishing community relationships and trust through the power of sport.

I have written to the Secretary of State and the Department of Media Culture and sport – and now I’m bringing our message to the Prime Minister.

This is about health, not wealth”.

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Provisions for youth in Aston

Youth provisions in Gaza