By Sarah Quinn.
Born and bred in Southmead, when I was growing up in this community there weren’t many opportunities for young girls and boys to be involved in sports and activities. Not only were facilities an issue, but I can imagine things like money and opportunities to funding were also factors at the time. I look around now and we still have issues with such things. At Southmead Community Sports I like to think we have an opportunity to try and help this situation in a positive way. We not only get the young, but also the teenage kids at their most impressionable ages, off the streets of Southmead where I know they can get into all sorts of issues and mischief. We get them into sport instead with the hopes of them building more friendships, confidence, team spirit, pride for their community and the people in it.
When I was a teenager in this community (a few years ago) I was kicking a football around outside my house as I loved football, but it wasn’t really “a girl’s game” or so I was told back then. But a guy called Paddy Dorney drove past and saw me kicking that ball and stopped and asked me if I wanted to come training for a girls’ team at the youth club, playing for a set-up the community had started called ‘The Voice Of Southmead’.
I went and realised there was a lot of like-minded girls that just wanted to play football and thanks to the volunteers, people like Paddy and Pauline Teddy, we could do it. We received funding and through people tirelessly working to help this community lots of girls and boys got to play football and basketball for Southmead. These volunteers helped and supported each other to try and make a change in this community.
Over the years Southmead won lots of awards in sports, and teams did very well all because we were given opportunities. I often wonder if Paddy hadn’t drove past that day what I would be doing now, would I have gone down the same path? I played for Southmead for years and it was some of the best years of my life! Now we as a Club and people of Southmead want to try and give back like those volunteers did by developing our kid’s teams and running free fun football sessions (with snacks!) and getting more involved with community.
I have recently done my Level 1 Football Coaching and have started a ladies football team called Southmead Ladies FC, with the help of good people who organise it so we have the opportunity to play in the Gloucestershire County League and receive funding for kits and equipment. If we can get ladies, 16 years plus, kicking a ball around with friendly people for fun, and giving some hard-working mums a chance to have an hour out, I think it’s a great thing for the body and the soul.
We as a Club hope we can at least try to help in some way with getting kids and adults of Southmead participating or helping out in sports and keeping people fit and active.. If any ladies are interested in joining Southmead ladies FC all abilities are welcome.
Training is 7PM Wednesdays £2 per session at Southmead Community Sport, Jarratts Road, BS10 6WF
(Sarah Quinn is Bar Manager at Southmead Community Sport, Chairperson and player of Southmead Ladies FC)