Monday, 13 August 2012

Public meeting about Aston Arena tomorrow

Independent Euro MP, Nikki Sinclaire will hold a public meeting at Aston Pavilion to discuss a crisis at a local sports facility

Nikki Sinclaire MEP will hold a public meeting to discuss plans which at the present time look to close the Aston Arena. In doing this, there will be a further shortage of sports centres in the area, something the community is unhappy about.

Nikki will meet with all concerned parties at 6pm at Aston Pavilion Tomorrow, Tuesday 14th August.

Ms Sinclaire alongside Bidgley Power charity last week delivered a hefty petition to 10 Downing Street to save Aston Arena.

The Petition containing over 3000 names protested about the proposed demolishing of the Aston Arena. It also highlighted the urgent need for sports services that meet the community’s needs.

This is despite the charity offering to run the centre for the community, in an area that severely lacks sports provision. The Arena is now set to be demolished as a part of Birmingham City Council’s Area Action Plan (AAP).

The council’s AAP lists a number of alternative sites to play sport, but the reality of the area is very different, with facilities offering limited opening hours or being exclusive for certain age groups only.

Nikki Sinclaire said of the plans, “I am disappointed that following meetings with Birmingham City Council, they are not budging on their plans for the area.

Why not give the arena to this charity or to a community group? The Prime Minister and his Government promote the ‘Big Society’ This is a unique facility that can be used for a number of events and really unite this community”.

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.

Among those who will be attending the meeting is Pritesh Pattni, who was a torchbearer in the run up to the London Olympics.

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.

“Last Saturday I was privileged to see a Somalian Refugee win a Gold Medal for Great Britain, Aston has a large Somalian population. Are we really going to ignore the potential for the next Mo Farah?”

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

Ms Sinclaire is seeking a meeting with the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt or the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson MP