Can the pandemic really be blamed for inefficiencies of this scale?
Lesley Powell and Sian Ellis-Thomas of Friends Of Redcatch Park appeared at the BCC Full Council Meeting on Tuesday 10th January to makes statements and raise questions about the Redcatch Park Pavilion Community Asset Transfer (CAT) which has been in process since early 2021. They were accompanied by Mike Alden who runs the Park Knowle Football club and who recently won the BBC Unsung Hero Award 2022 for his work with Park Knowle Football Club.
Before the meeting started, Mike was honoured with an opening statement from the Lord Mayor Paula O’ Rourke who commended his achievement and thanked him for his work in the community. This got resounding applause from the house. During the Public Forum Mike made a personal statement; “…we are desperately trying to create proper changing facilities to accommodate the girl’s and disability teams at Redcatch Park. At the club we say that nobody gets turned away, but the truth is, more girls and disabled players want to play, but we just cannot accommodate them, or invite away teams to play. If we can get the Community Asset Transfer for the Pavilion Building in Redcatch Park, then we can resolve this, and more children and disabled players will benefit.”
Lesley Powell also made a statement referencing the delay to the Pavilion CAT and one for Redcatch Community Garden which has also been stuck in the log jam, generally blamed on the pandemic and lack of staff. BCC launched an initiative to offer Community Asset Transfers for sports buildings in Bristol parks in 2021 to encourage community groups to take over and run these facilities for the good of the wider community because they were no longer able to do so. Redcatch Community Garden and Mike Alden then made an application. Who better to achieve results for sports in the community, than someone like Mike who’s been successfully running the Park Knowle Football Club for over ten years? This is a match made in heaven. Yet, it has hit a wall that’s lasted two years. Lesley and Sian are determined that they will do all they can to help Mike secure the use of the Pavilion in 2023. She says: “ Due to the facilities not complying to the most basic legal requirements, the club can’t currently play their girl’s and disability teams at Redcatch.
Without these facilities, Mike cannot grow these two much needed elements of the club and will have to turn new players away. We just have to make this happen. ” During the meeting she asked the Deputy Mayor to please explain why after almost two years the application for a Community Asset Transfer for the Pavilion has not been progressed at all, what is actively being done to now move this forward and when a result can be expected. “We’re fed up of being fobbed off with platitudes and holding messages from BCC apologising for delays, while seemingly taking zero action to move these applications forward. We’ve been waiting almost two years for something to happen on the Pavilion CAT. We’ve done our bit, but BCC are just not doing theirs.”, said Lesley Powell. They are now awaiting the Deputy Mayor to respond to a request for a meeting of all interested parties to discuss and progress Pavilion CAT.