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Swansea sports clubs set to receive further help from council

Swansea Council is to give further help to local sports clubs that play on council-owned pitches.

The council helped them in Covid’s immediate aftermath with assistance worth around £140,000 – much of it by waiving hire fees for grass pitches.

Now, with most pandemic restrictions gone across Wales, the council aims to give more help by extending its free-use offer for the remainder of 2022, and offering a significantly discounted rate at the start of the new year.

The offer will extend to all the council’s main pitches, those self-managed and grass pitches at sites managed by partner not-for-profit trust Freedom Leisure.

This will mean no hire fees until January 2023, half-fees until the end of March 2023 then a return to full fees that help maintain the council’s 65 sports pitches that host football, rugby and cricket across the city.

Further assistance will be reintroduced to sport clubs that lease council-owned grounds.

Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “Swansea is a city of sport and our local clubs are important to our communities.

“We want to help them flourish as we move away from the two very difficult years of pandemic.

“People enjoy organised sports in our beautiful parks and open spaces. We’re pleased to have been able to support them already by waiving fees for the hire of grass pitches through clubs’ 2021-22 seasons; we now want to help them plan effectively for the future as fees are gradually reintroduced.

“It’s another way the council can contribute to the recovery of community life in the wake of the pandemic.”

League organisers registered with the council and Freedom are being kept informed.

Giovanni Cambule, secretary of the DW Harris Swansea Senior League, said: “We acknowledge the concessions that have been made by the council in respect of pitch permit fees.

“The waiving of such fees for the entire 2021-22 season has been much appreciated by our member clubs and their players. The gradual re-introduction of fees for 2022-23 will provide additional relief as we all face up to the challenges ahead.”

Karen Trussler, chairperson of the Swansea Junior Football League, said: “We’re grateful to the council for the help and support we continue to receive.

“The decision on pitch fees will allow clubs the opportunity to recover financially after a difficult few years. It’ll give them the chance to prepare for when pitch fees return to normal in spring next year.

“We thank the council for supporting us and giving our young people the chance to play sport.”

Nic Beggs, area manager for Freedom Leisure, said: “It’s great to see the council recognising the need to support clubs and sport across the city.

“Covid is still having a big impact and the return to physical activity is not complete.  We’ll ensure that clubs are made aware of this good news for the 2022-23 season.”

Swansea’s sports pitch assistance has been offered through the council’s Covid economic recovery fund.

The council was at the forefront of the area’s support during and after Covid. Its actions included building the Bay Field Hospital, support for food banks and offering grants to hospitality businesses.

Through the pandemic the council continued to deliver essential services such as housing, social services, education and waste collection. Cultural venues offered new online activities.