Gary Sambrook writes for the Standard.
MY VISIT to the Hayes to see the work being done by Alvechurch FC was a great example of how MPs can assist with complex situations that help the whole community.
The circumstances are anything but simple but the ultimate outcomes could be:
A non-league football club playing at an ancient ground with inadequate facilities are looking to move to a new site with a proper club house and amenities to support youth teams, men’s and women’s teams and a range of others like disabled teams and walking football.
The current pitch is on a slope so the first team prefer to kick down hill in the first half, go 4-0 or 5-0 up and then kick up hill in the second half against demoralised opposition! Clearly a new ground is needed. Sound simple? Not when you get into the complex planning!
The land to which Alvechurch FC is seeking to move is yards outside of my constituency in Bromsgrove District Council but the land is owned by Birmingham City Council.
However many of the supporters, schools teams and players come from my own constituency.
The club needs to develop the ground to improve the facilities and this does not come cheap. To do this they need to sell their current land for development but that always causes concern.
So along with Sajid Javid we have both been helping in a variety of ways.
The benefits are there for all to see – non-league football is a great way for people to follow the beautiful game without it costing an arm and a leg.
It can provide an asset for schools to play on a proper pitch.
It can provide employment both for semi professional footballers and for people who run the club.
And it can provide a great and healthy activity for children who come from communities that will really benefit from organised sport.
Getting to help fantastic community projects, such as what Alvechurch FC are doing in the move to the Hayes, is exactly what I got involved in politics to do.