New football pitches prove a hit with youngsters

An organisation that uses football to transform communities has just opened its second facility thanks to the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Target Football was launched in Toxteth in 2010 by Paul Hurford and Reg Standish to breathe new life into the area and give young people something to do.

They took over Admiral Park in 2012 and transformed a derelict space that was prone to anti-social behaviour and was a hotspot for fly-tipping  into a community football pitch with a multi-purpose clubhouse.

Thanks to their success at Admiral Park, Target Football approached Liverpool Council to take over another failing sports facility –  Stanneyfields in Dingle –  so it could be revived.

It was particularly poignant for Reg as the facility was named after his 21-year-old nephew Shaun ‘Stanney’ Standish, who collapsed and died of an asthma attack while playing football there in 2009.

Target Football took over the site in September 2021 and were awarded £124,000 from the DCMS, which was match-funded by the Steve Morgan Foundation, to pay for the installation of four 3G pitches.

The nine-a-side pitch and three five-a-side pitches were opened this month and have already proved a hit with youngsters.

Reg said: “They’re absolutely fantastic. I live in Toxteth and I can’t begin to tell you what a difference it’s made to the community.

Football-mad youngsters hit the TARGET

“We’re getting people of all ages using them – from eight to 20! The smaller pitches cost £30 an hour to hire and the larger one is £40 – which s around half the market rate. It’s very important that they’re affordable.

“This project simply wouldn’t have happened without the support of the DCMS as part of the Community Match Challenge Fund, and the Steve Morgan Foundation. 

“We’ve got summer camps lined up for both Admiral Park and Stanneyfields so we know they’re going to be well used. We can’t get the kids off them!”

Reg said the transformation of the latest site was particularly emotional because of the connection of his late nephew Shaun.

“Shaun’s nickname was ‘Stanney’ which is how Stannyfields came to get its name,” he said. “Doing this was massive for me and the family, I’ve brought his parents down and they love it. Shaun would be made up.”

Steve Morgan Foundation’s director of regional grants, Jane Harris, and trustee Ashley Lewis recently visited the newly-opened facility and gave it the thumbs up.

She said: “Target Football has been improving the lives of their community for a decade. We were really impressed when we visited the new community facility at Stanneyfields in Dingle. It was wonderful to see such a positive and attractive community asset coming back to life.”

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