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9 March 2017

Breaking ground at Isobel Bowler sports ground in Sheffield

Breaking ground at Isobel Bowler sports ground in Sheffield

This week a ground-breaking ceremony took place at the new football hub and community fitness facility in Sheffield.

The Isobel Bowler Sports Ground is the third "Parklife" football facility to be created in Sheffield, as part of a national partnership with The FA.

This week a ground-breaking ceremony took place at the new football hub and community fitness facility on the site of the former Westfield school in Westfield Crescent, Mosborough, which will be officially named the Isobel Bowler Sports Ground in memory of the popular and dedicated councillor.

The late Councillor Bowler, who represented Mosborough ward, was cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure and was passionate about improving access to sports facilities for all.

Councillor Mary Lea, who now holds the same portfolio on the city council, said: "Isobel was a wonderful colleague and friend and is very much missed by all of us here at Sheffield City Council.

"I am glad to see that, with the new football hub being named in her memory, her legacy will live on in such a fitting way.

"Sports, arts and culture were so important to Isobel, and I hope that the facilities that now bear her name will inspire future generations of Sheffielders to take part in, enjoy, and excel at, grassroots football." The first two football hubs as part of the national FA scheme are already open at Graves, in the south of the city, and at Thorncliffe at High Green.

Building work is now underway on this third hub, which is costing around £6m and will have two full-sized 3G artificial grass pitches, three natural grass pitches, a gym, changing rooms and a coach education space. Councillor Lea added: "As home to the world's oldest football club, it is only fitting that Sheffield should be leading the way nationally with this.

"The overarching aim is to halt the decline in football and turn it from a sport that requires subsidy into one that generates surplus. We also want to invest in future facilities and the development of the sport.

"Football is Sheffield's biggest team sport with over 800 teams, the majority of which are junior and youth teams. It is significant for sports participation, community activity and associated health benefits.

"This partnership with the FA is a great thing for our city. I'm delighted to see this grassroots scheme moving forward."

Costs of the £6m Westfield project are being through a mix of funding from Sheffield City Council, the Football Association, the Football Foundation and Sport England. The centre will be operated by Pulse Fitness, which also manages the football hubs at Thorncliffe and Graves.

Building work on the new facility is being carried out by Robertson Yorkshire & East Midlands. Paul Turner, regional managing director, said: "We are delighted to have broken ground on this incredibly special project. It is a real moment for the entire team.

"It is clear that Isobel was passionate about sport and this hub will transform how the surrounding communities engage with football and their views on physical fitness.

"As well as being an exciting construction project, we are humbled to be involved in honouring Isobel's memory."

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, was at the ceremony today.

He said: "My friend Isobel was a brilliant and dedicated local councillor for Mosborough. It is entirely fitting that the new sports facilities she worked so hard to make a reality will be named after her.

"This is a very appropriate legacy and I was delighted to be present at the ground-breaking ceremony."