The grounds of TD Shipley FC were bathed in sunshine, as the regular Petanque and Hills Farm Lane Walking Football teams braved the heat to put on sporting displays, for those who came along to celebrate the event.
Philip Gibbs, Chairman of the Shipley Community Project, was delighted with the turnout: “It was wonderful that so many people could join us for the opening of the workshop,” he said, “Our success here depends upon the backing of the local community and it is great to see that more local people are beginning to notice what we are doing. Our strong working relationship with TD Shipley FC, the local Council and our other partners gives us the means to continue developing this beautiful and relevant project.
“We will always keep football at the heart of our activity here in Shipley, but to remain viable, football clubs need to diversify and reflect the changes in society, especially as many older people are still highly active well into their 70s and even 80s. Therefore, we must endeavour to create a sporting and activity hub for all ages, where everyone is welcome.”
Greg Charman, Community Safety and Health and Wellbeing Manager for Horsham District Council, was fittingly presented with a Stanley knife to cut the twine across the Workshop doorway. Horsham District Councillor for Billingshurst and Shipley, Kate Rowbottom, was also in attendance and has been a consistent supporter of the Project.
“It’s a privilege to be asked to open the Community workshop,” said Greg at the event, “What has been achieved already is marvellous and it’s clear to see what a team effort it has been.”
Greg recalled his early years, when he grew up in the local area, and the site was overgrown with abandoned vehicles occasionally littering the rough ground. He praised the construction of the brand new junior football pitch, built by Hills Farm Lane FC and TD Shipley FC as part of their joint efforts to develop football at the ground.
“The difference between then and now is astounding and I hope this Community Project gives lots of local people a lot of pleasure,” he concluded as he declared the Shipley Community Workshop officially open.
Peter Coleman, President of the Billingshurst and District Lions Club, was also called upon to unveil a new defibrillator, which has been placed on site, in a joint venture between the two organisations to service the local community. He explained: “We are thrilled and grateful that the Lions Club have been willing to invest with us in this vital piece of equipment. In the past, tragically, there have been fatalities at this site or close by. By installing this defibrillator, we will be able to ensure the very best health and safety standards possible and it shows clearly that everyone in the local community is driving this Shipley Community Project together.”
A refreshing lunch was served at the launch event and there were beautiful examples of woodwork on display, which have been produced by men attending the workshop sessions. These included bird boxes, carved wooden ornaments, a wooden table and an outdoor chair with planting troughs.
The Shipley Community Project have some further important dates in the diary coming up shortly. These include:
25 June – A Hills Farm Lane FC annual Vernon Evershed memorial game in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK and the Chestnut Tree Hospice
11 July – A mini taskforce day run in association with Wood Mackenzie, one of the world’s leading Energy consultants.
Anyone is welcome 24 July – Sussex FA training day with Roffey Robins FC
Information on activities at the Shipley Community Project can be found via their Facebook page, @ShipleyCommunityProject or by emailing Philip Gibbs on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured: Greg Charman, Philip Gibbs and Horsham District Councillor for Billingshurst & Shipley Kate Rowbottom