Tag Archives: sport

Meeting set for those affected by sports centre closure

WM Sports CentreJo Cox MP is holding a meeting this week for people who use Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre, ahead of its closure and demolition next month.

The Batley & Spen MP is determined to make sure that all those groups who use the sports centre can be found a new home after it closes, as part of a scheme to redevelop the neighbouring high school.

Mrs Cox said: “Kirklees Council has taken the decision not to retain the sports centre when a new school is built at the site. The date for its closure has now been set as 20 May.

“In some cases, alternative facilities and locations have already been offered to users of the centre. In other cases, such as with indoor bowls, the council has decided it can no longer subsidise provision to the extent it has in the past.

“I want to know how the closure will affect those who use the sports centre and where they will go once it closes. Most importantly of all, if there is anything else the council and Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) can do to help them, I want to make sure they do that.”

Mrs Cox has invited the leader of Kirklees Council, Cllr David Sheard, the chief executive of KAL, Alasdair Brown, and members of both Kirklees and KAL staff to attend the meeting.

They will be on hand to answer questions or concerns about future provision.

Mrs Cox added: “This is not a meeting of the council or the cabinet and it is not a meeting to consider the decision they have already taken to close the centre. It is a meeting organised by me so that users of the centre can discuss and ask questions about the alternative provision they have been offered.

“I hope this will be useful to those affected by the closure. I know Whitcliffe has been a valued facility, the loss of which will be felt by many.”

The meeting will be at the sports centre on Friday 15 April at 7pm.

Bulldogs Girls celebrate new home with a thumping victory

Jo Cox sees the Bulldogs Girls' trophies in the cabinet at Mount Pleasant

Craig Taylor shows Jo Cox the Bulldogs Girls’ trophies in the cabinet at Mount Pleasant

Last Saturday Batley Bulldogs Girls played their first game at their all new pitch, kindly made available to them by Upper Batley High School.

The under 16 team got off to a winning start, thumping East Leeds 28-0.

Three weeks ago, with the season fast approaching, the girls were still looking for a home field for their under 16s, 14s and 12s.

Coach Craig Taylor enlisted the help of Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox, who helped negotiate an arrangement for the girls to play at the high school on Batley Field Hill.

Last year the girls toured Australia after an amazing fundraising effort which saw them raise £60,000 for the trip. Participation and interest in the team has grown steadily and now engages over 60 girls, including a women’s team to play in the winter league.

Coach, Craig Taylor said: “We really appreciate the help and support that Jo has given us and since putting us in touch with the school they have been fantastic too. Allowing us to use their field has been a god send really and it’s a great location for rugby.”

Sam Vickers, headteacher at Upper Batley High, said: “We were only too happy to help the girls by letting them use our field. The rugby pitch is not quite as well used as it could be but with the support of Craig and the Bulldogs we are hoping to get some of the boys more into the sport too.”

Mrs Cox said: “The girls are a fantastic success story for Batley and the popularity of the teams has outstripped the facilities available to them. Getting a field to play on was only the first step and in time I am optimistic that both Kirklees Council and Sport England will find ways to help support the girls.”

“The school have been great and not for the first time they have shown their commitment to the wider community by helping to make this happen.”

Newspaper column: Celebrating our rich sporting life

Every month Jo Cox writes a column for The Press. This month’s column appeared in last week’s edition.

Jo Cox at the Bulldogs in 2015

Jo Cox meets John Kear during a visit to the Bulldogs last year

Sunday saw a sporting spectacle that we’ve waited months to behold.  No, not the Super Bowl – the rugby league Championship got underway. Batley Bulldogs played host to Leigh Centurions and beat them in a memorable game.

Win or lose they are a huge asset to the town and this is true of many of the sports clubs across our area who do amazing work in our community. When I was at the club last week I was shown the trophy cabinet, including the most recent silverware, which was won by the girls’ team. The club has grown to more than 100 girls and has just returned from a ground-breaking trip to Australia.

Batley & Spen has a rich sporting life. Our constituency has produced Olympians, Paralympians, international rugby players, first class cricketers, premier league footballers – and a range of other successful sportsmen and women from cyclists to canoeists.

Of course, sport is about so much more than winning. When I think about all the people I know who play football or tennis or go swimming, I know it isn’t always about winning. I like to run. But it is very rare that I race anyone. For many people sport is about keeping fit and healthy, or the camaraderie of the team or the social life. For others it helps combat loneliness and isolation, or it allows them to develop and improve their skills.

Sport offers role models and in some cases heroes emerge who our kids look up to and who many want to emulate. Its power is quite remarkable. It also opens doors for people. The opportunities sport presents can be unlike any others – the chance to travel the country or the world, the chance to showcase your particular sporting talents in a range of competitions and places.

Look no further than 15 year-old Jordan Catling from the Bulldogs. She was named the National Satellite Club Participant of the Year in recognition of her contribution and commitment to community sport. It helps nurture skills that can be put to good use across the rest of your life.

But whether we’re talking about winning or just about taking part, this can’t happen without the right infrastructure. We must get things right at the grassroots if it is going to thrive. Nor should we underestimate the work of volunteers who make much of it come together. I’m looking forward to visiting Cleckheaton RUFC to hear about the plans they have to grow their sport and the amount they contribute locally. I have been to cricket clubs, such as Mount and Batley, who are doing wonders at opening up their game to new groups. I’ve visited junior football clubs in Cleckheaton and Gomersal who offer scores of kids somewhere to train and play.

One of the reasons I’m so keen to help those who will be affected by the planned closure of Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre is because such clubs and sports must continue. It’s a sad situation but the work and commitment of those who organise these clubs must not be lost.

We may not know what our future sporting landscape will look like in terms of facilities, particularly with the plans for a new Spen Valley sports village, but we know most of our clubs rely on the goodwill of volunteers.

We must celebrate our sportsmen and women and all of those volunteers behind the scenes. This means ensuring that we are getting it right at the grassroots and making sure that these doors remain open.