Story by Yasar Mohamed
Mohamed Ali and I are members of Burngreave FC. We attended the November full council meeting to present our petition which had 662 signatures. It was the first time we had gone to a council meeting and we were nervous.
We read our speech to a full room of politicians. We were asking for PowerLeague Woodbourn Stadium to stay open. Woodbourn Stadium consists of 5-a-side football training and playing facilities.
It is referred to by young people as PITZ. PITZ has been an excellent and affordable facility that many young people from across Sheffield have made use of. Staff at the facility also run many free training sessions during the week to keep young people off the streets. It opens till late and most importantly gives us something positive to channel our energies into. In times of increasing gang related activity and knife crime, activities and facilities that support young people should be supported not closed down. In our speech we said:
“If anyone is really serious about challenging knife crime and gang related activity then look at what young people have to do in the city. If you come from a disadvantaged background there is very little to do! Yes we know there are massive government cuts but there are always choices to make. We feel young people have been forgotten because people with louder voices are listened to instead. If this continues you will only have more young people getting involved in the wrong things as a result. We would like to urge Sheffield City Council to work with partners to keep PITZ open.”
The Council referred the petition to Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure. We were told that thankfully it will no longer be closing and they have been working to find a new contractor. Another provider will be taking over for the short to medium. This is a good result as it means young people can continue to use the facility to enjoy football.