Last Saturday the vast majority of junior and senior football fixtures were called off across the Vale of Glamorgan despite just one day of rain, albeit heavy. This is unfortunately a common conversation I have with parents during the winter months and it must be addressed.
Getting young children playing sport across the Vale of Glamorgan is real passion of mine. It teaches young children discipline, the benefits of teamwork and youthful energy is put to good use.
The Gem has reported my interest in this area for a number of years about whether the facilities available match the ambition of young players.
The largest town in Wales needs new next generation facilities now. I am calling again for funding to be used to provide new artificial surfaces that can be used by players in the town, and facilities that children and parents that travel in from around the Vale for fixtures can also use.
To echo the ethos of team sport, I feel that teamwork is the answer to helping the next generation of youngsters fulfil their potential. The committed volunteers, clubs and the local authority should work together to ensure that access is maximised for all children when new facilities are built in Barry. Funding is available for a number of locations that could be identified and built quickly in Barry.
There are a number of excellent examples of new first class artificial pitches in Wales that have transformed access to youth football – which in turn transforms the prospects of the next generation of player. By investing in pitches across the Vale of Glamorgan, I am hopeful that the growth spurt in interest in youth football can continue at a galloping pace. And who knows, the next Gareth Bale could hail from the Vale of Glamorgan.
New artificial pitches in Barry will mean fewer postponements that results in fixtures getting fulfilled. Players get continual access to coaching skills, rather than lengthy stop start periods during even the mildest of winters like this one.
All the parents and coaches I speak to appreciate the undoubted challenge it is to try and maintain pitches in Barry, it is a thankless task. What better way to encourage young boys and girls into sport than by building 3G or 4G pitches in Barry that are available for use day and night for the whole community?
Without the facilities to match the ambition, these youngsters and talented coaches are unable to make the most of their ability. The principal town in the Vale of Glamorgan needs new artificial pitches now.