Fighting talk from volunteers

“We’ve got a dream, but it’s building that dream that’s the hard part” - that’s the challenge which lies ahead a group of enthusastic north Halifax volunteers.

With M People’s “Proud” coming out of the speakers, the entire room from politicians to footballers were enthralled by a nine-minute video showing how land at Forest Cottage, Ovenden, could be transformed.

The plans for the Ovenden Sports and Community Arena include state-of-the-art sports and leisure facilities.

The committee wants to bring sports pitches, an events gazebo and skate park to one of Halifax’s most deprived areas.

Halifax MP Linda Riordan said: “This is an opportunity for young people. It’s a message of hope.”

Coaches from local football and rugby teams told the packed room how the facilities would improve their clubs.

Ovenden Rugby League Player-Coach Gareth Jones said: “I want to be a kid again watching that. I hope these facilities do come to fruition.

“It’d be the place to be,” said Gareth, whose brother Danny is a Welsh International and Fax player.

“It’d get kids off the streets from doing whatever else and it’d be the place to be. It’d give this area what it needs and what it deserves,” he said.`

Ovenden West Riding club manager Danny Megson said a lack of facilites mean his team have to travel to Luddendenfoot to train. He said the new facilities would “unify” their club.

Mark Duffy also from the club urged councillors to do all they can to help the scheme.

“If you can put a tick in the box then do so,” he said.

Mike Riley, from Halifax RLFC, said if the scheme goes ahead it will have their backing, and they would hope to stop training in Rochdale and move to the facilites. “We’ve got a dream, but it’s building that dream that’s the hard part,” he said.

Other speakers included Paralympic medallist Hannah Cockroft and local pool, women’s footballers and junior football players and coaches.

OSCA Chairman Joe Collins said: “We have got to turn our passion into facilities on the ground.

“We’re under no illusions it’s going to be a hard challenge but we’re up for it. We will be working really hard to bring these visions into reality.

“We want a first-class, groundbreaking facility for North Halifax,” he said.

l Should the area get a modern sports complex? Email: Yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk