One of our big issues at Dart Hockey Club is the state of our pitch at KEVICCs. Basically, it’s deteriorated to the point where we can no longer play on it for Health and Safety reasons, which obviously has massive implications for us as a club. We have in excess of 150 playing members including around 70 juniors from age 7 to 14.
We are now in the process of having to try to find an alternative pitch for next season – given our catchment area of Plymouth, Ivybridge, Totnes, Newton Abbot, Torquay, Paignton, Buckfastleigh, Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Chudleigh and places in between, this is obviously not an ideal situation at all, and clearly threatens the future of the club.
We have had years of false promises about a new surface and since a bid fell through at the last minute in 2007/8 due to FA funding being withdrawn (Alan Blake - former teacher and governor ,was a main force behind this and remains dedicated to achieving this).
All the main players involved have failed to come up with either the guarantee of the money or a joint plan - this being the County Council, Local Council and school/ education department.
In fairness all parties have identified a need for a new surface, but the school are holding out for it to be part of an overall redevelopment of the lower site on the school and the councils have indicated that they don't have the funding. We are lead to believe the ownership of the land is sorted and the school have put in a lot of money re architects drawings and outline planning. A bid has gone in for England Hockey money but no other match funding is in place.
The surface is unplayable for our league games for next season due to the state of the 'D's, we are considering moving our junior training, some of Dartington and Totnes junior football teams refuse to train on it and other groups including a Vets football and Vets hockey team have complained strongly.
So we now feel that this is a priority and that we have no option but to try and raise the profile of the situation with the general public. In fact it’s something of a travesty that these days, the principal town in the South Hams can’t somehow get its act together to provide a suitable multi-sport artificial pitch, especially when so many sports people and especially youngsters depend on having one…
We believe that all the public organisations involved need to get together and make a definite commitment to funding. Funding always seems to be available for necessities, which we think this is for the community of Totnes. Many different groups use this facility during the week, these groups cater for males and females of all ages.
So to highlight our plight, our club juniors and Dartington and Totnes Football Club juniors are having a joint training session on Monday 30th – 6pm -7.30pm. I have spoken with the Totnes Times who have said they will do an article and we are to take some photos. We are hoping to get about 60 junior club members, parents and Dart Hockey Club officials to attend.
Our next step after this will be the local MP and lobbying local councillors and governors.