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Orrell Mount fields temporarily closed as fantastic 3G pitch works get underway

Earlier this year Sefton Council announced that it had been successful in a bid for £780,000 funding from the Football Foundation to create brand new and much needed all weather 3G pitches at Orrell Mount.

Alongside around £350,000 direct investment from the Council, this welcome additional funding allows the Council to undertake work to replace the existing grass pitch and to install new changing facilities on the site – ultimately benefitting local people all year round.

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “We are aware of misinformation which has been shared online about the scheme and we have reiterated that key facilities will remain and even be improved, including dog walking facilities and a fully refurbished children’s playground.”

Local Sefton former professional footballer Jamie Carragher’s 23 Foundation will be running the new facility, to maximise its potential and nurture a new generation of future sporting stars

They will provide a managed programme which supports partner club growth and offers a range of recreational football activities to people of all ages, backgrounds, genders and abilities to deliver the FA strategic outcomes.

Full backing has been given to the scheme by the Liverpool County FA, local grassroots football teams such as Northfield Juniors and many members of the community.

Tony Smith, Football Development Manager at the Liverpool County FA, added: “There is a huge shortfall of match play on 3G pitches and having this facility in the heart of the community will not only develop better grassroots players but also develop better social outcomes to combat obesity, improve health and wellbeing, while also tackling anti-social behaviour.”

Rachel Stevenson, Welfare Officer for Bootle’s Northfield Junior’s Football Club, said the team can’t wait to play on the pitch.

She said: “Historically in the winter months we have found real difficulties and challenges to get our kids access to proper training facilities.

“This will be our first opportunity to keep players within the local community and allow them to train closer to their homes.

“We are a registered charity so this scheme will also allow us to keep our costs down and allow us to pass this back on to our members so our football remains completely inclusive to everyone in the local community.”

A Sefton Council spokesperson reiterated these comments, adding: “Any surplus made from operating the facility will be put back in to the community.

“Throughout this process to provide significantly improved health and wellbeing provisions for football players of all abilities and ages, Sefton Council has endeavoured to work closely with members of the local community and has acted on some of the concerns expressed.”

Despite these promises, a pocket of public opposition to the plans has remained and owing to the ongoing actions of these demonstrators, Sefton Council have reluctantly taken the decision to temporarily close Orrell Mount park to the public.

A council spokesperson confirmed: “This decision has not been taken lightly, however we need to ensure the ongoing safety of both demonstrators and our contractors.

“This closure will remain in place until works to install a 3G pitch, lighting and community safety provisions have been completed.”