PICTURES: Football team finally nets permanent home ground
PUBLISHED: 15:55 28 November 2019
One of the biggest girls football clubs in the South West has finally found a permanent home ground after more than two years of searching.
Weston Mendip Football Club will play at St Johns Park, in Coleridge Road, the former home of Weston St Johns Football Club.
Weston St Johns lost their ground, which had been their base since 1972, to a devastating fire in 2016.
Team Mendip, as it was formally called, was set up in 2008 by three dads who all had daughters who wanted to play football.
The founding members had no experience in setting up a club or running girls football teams, but aimed to create an environment where girls could safely play.
Open training sessions were set up in recreational areas around Weston with their daughters and their friends.
Over the next six weeks the word spread and the sessions ballooned from just nine girls to more than 40, aged from 10 to 14.
Today, Weston Mendip have 165 players and 13 teams from the ages of six to 16 competing in the Bristol and Somerset girls leagues.
The club secured a lease from North Somerset Council for the pitch last year, followed by a £50,000 community trust grant to redevelop the facilities.
Chairman Jeremy Brown said: "The space had been left to rack and ruin, it was a mess.
"The grass was waist high and we had parents fill 60 bin bags of rubbish to clear the pitch, but we have created a safe and secure playing area that will guarantee a home ground for the club for years to come.
"Support from local people has been overwhelming, with many coming down on match days to congratulate us on revamping the ground and revitalizing the area."
Senior matches had been taking place at Worle Recreation Ground, while junior training and games are spread over the town at Grove Park, @Worle and Weston College's astroturf pitch at Beaufighter Road.
The next stage is to apply for funding from the Football Association in 2020 to provide toilets, changing rooms and a communal area for players and supporters.
Weston's deputy mayor James Clayton said: "St Johns have always been a focal part of the Bournville and was always a well-used area, so it's good to see football is back for the whole community."