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Securing a sporting legacy

This is an article for the South Wales Evening Post

I am privileged to represent a ward which includes Alice Street, home to seven Welsh soccer internationals including John Charles, his younger brother Mel and Mel Nurse.

These footballers learnt their trade in Cwmbwrla Park, a venue where regular football games have recently resumed after the construction of new changing rooms.

Following the success of the Welsh football team at the European Championships it is crucial that we continue to develop home grown players of their ilk and those such as Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale and Neil Taylor.

Having Wales only premier league club should give us a major advantage, however although the Swans have their own academy and are doing a lot of work with young players, it is still the local parks and clubs like Plough Colts where future young stars will start their playing career.

That is why I raised a question in Council last week on what they are doing to help those youngsters get the best possible start.

Swansea council is very keen on local clubs taking over and managing their parks, not least as that is one way to lever in additional investment through the lottery and other sources.

However, not all areas have the capacity to do that and in parks like Cwmbwrla the pitches are in need of improvement.  The £40 a session charge for using these pitches is prohibitively expensive for many of these clubs.

 The council needs to review its policies to ensure it is not putting off the future John Charles but doing all it can to encourage and nurture them instead.

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