Endangering Children’s Health

To the Town Council:

Newton Aycliffe Youth Football Club are an FA Charter Standard Community Club and provide safe, affordable football for approximately 275 girls and boys. We have over 40 qualified coaches giving up their time, free, to the benefit of the children. We also have many volunteers from the parents, grand parents and close family to help us have a successful football club.

We had our monthly managers’ meeting on Sunday 1 October 2017, at which all managers expressed their disgust and despair at the amount of dog muck they remove from the Oakleaf pitches before every game.

In particular our Under 16 girls, on pitch 1, have had to remove 3-4 bags of muck in each of the last 2 weeks. Our under 11 girls on Pitch 4, junior pitch, have the parents spread out across the pitch before every match, inspecting and then removing at least one or two bags every week. The teams using the other pitches,’ reported similar issues of dog fouling to clear before a game.

As club secretary, I was at the Oakleaf at 10am on 1/10/17 and watched as a dog walker let both dogs out of the car, to run around pitch 3 (the running track) off the leash. Both dogs then proceeded to deposit at several places across the pitch. Thankfully I saw him pick up what he could but I would be surprised if he removed it all and what part of the deposit is still left on our pitches for young children to fall on.

It is obvious that some of the less responsible dog owners are treating the Oakleaf Sports Pitches as a public open space, to which they bring their dogs for a run out and deposit on the pitches and urinate on every goal post. The situation seems to be getting worse this season and we are only 4 weeks in.

As a Community Football Club, with close to 1,000 members, of which many are dog owners, we can all understand and accept that people will bring their dogs to the Oakleaf but we feel strongly that dogs should only be allowed to walk the Oakleaf, if they are on a leash.

At least then owners can ensure that their dogs deposit away from the pitches and then be responsible and pick up immediately.

Any help would be appreciated

Yours faithfully,

Berni Borsberry, Secretary