A football club which is desperate to make the ground where they play their home say they are being shown the red card by council chiefs.
Whiteleas Juniors Football Club has been holding its training sessions at Temple Park Junior School since 1999.
The kids really enjoy their sessions at Temple Park Junior School and we have a lot of volunteers who help to keep the club going, we would just love to be able to do more and be able to call this place our home.”Julie Hogg
Even when the school shut four years ago, they were able to use the grounds for their 300-plus youngsters.
However, the club approached South Tyneside Council in a bid to make the site more of a permanent base by installing a container in which to store their equipment and offering to pay for the upkeep of the grass – but say they have been told no.
The building in Manet Gardens, Whiteleas, has stood empty since the closure.
Recently, it is believed the council’s education staff have moved into the property after being re-located from Chuter Ede Community Centre.
Julie Hogg, club secretary, said: “We have always trained at Temple Park Junior School and would like to make it a more permanent base, in which we can also host matches and tournaments.
“But the way the set up is now, it’s not something we are able to do.
“We have approached the council with our ideas and to ask if we can have a container on the site to store equipment but we were told no.
“We even offered to pay for the upkeep of the fields as the pitches are terrible.
“We were being told it was because it was going to shut. Now, we are being told no because it is for the community, but are we not the community?
“And do we not help youngsters by keeing them engaged in sport rather than doing other things?
“The kids really enjoy their sessions at Temple Park Junior School and we have a lot of volunteers who help to keep the club going.
“We would just love to be able to do more and be able to call this place our home.”
The football club says if they have a home to call their own, they would be able to apply for grants in which to improve the fields.
The club has about 300 players from the age of three to 16 years old who train at the site twice a week.
A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said “The playing field is for use by the wider community and, as such we are unable to consider the use of the land for the sole benefit of the football club.
“However, we will investigate the possibility of using a small area of the field to site a storage container for the club’s equipment.
“The site is managed and maintained in accordance with other playing fields.”