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Article provided by Peter Sullivan, Chairman of Cardiff Hibernian FC
ack in 2008 Cardiff City Council had plans drawn to build houses on the only playing field left at Ely known as the Rec (Ely recreation field). We formed a protest group that became known as the Ely Garden Villagers; we fought the Council for two long years with petitions, protests and a lot of coverage through our local newspaper the South Wales Echo. After winning we decided that we really needed our field to be used so that the Council wouldn't come back again.
We held a meeting to find out what our community would like i.e. Football,
Rugby or maybe Baseball and it was decided that football should return. There are changing rooms and showers onsite but they were very badly vandalised that brought about the football team that played there previously to abandon the Rec.
Football was overwhelmingly voted in so myself, my wife and two other football coaches put up flyers around the local shops advertising a free soccer camp. On the planned day we set off from our house up to the Rec with two footballs and a few practice cones!
To our total surprise we were very loudly greeted by one hundred plus
children/youths. We franticly phoned around for more help and the soccer camp carried on throughout the summer half term and with limited resources we were able to form two football teams.
Out of the blue we were followed around by Ch4 who were claiming to be making a documentary about volunteers. They claimed a chap called Richard North from Wolverhampton wanted to do the same as we did within our community. Richard turned out to be The Secret Millionaire; he kindly donated money that enabled us to refurbish our changing rooms and buy lots of training gear.
Then Cardiff Hibernian FC contacted us asking if they could use the Rec as their home ground! We agreed only with a written agreement that they were to coach mini/junior/youth football teams, so from the two teams we started with we now have ten football teams including our seniors with the first team playing in the Welsh Amateur League and our seconds playing in the local Cardiff League
Our mini/junior teams have been so successful winning league titles year after year we could without doubt double the number of teams we have if only we could get more coaches checked (DBS) and trained to the required level one.
Cardiff Hibernian FC have been running for over fifty years but only since getting involved with us the Ely Garden Villagers have they had a system in place where the junior sides are in place to step up to senior level as a club. Now we
have the structure in place to hopefully progress further and grow the club in the future.
We have many Plans for the future at the Rec; presently we have a full sized pitch and four mini pitches but we have room
for more and on the top of our wish list is a 3G all-weather training pitch, we would also really like to have a MAIN SPONSOR.
We are looking to achieve an Academy of Football for the area as it would help to get more youths off the street so they can work together in a team for the club and community. With a 3G pitch in place it could open more opportunities for the area as a whole through Job Creation in the community and make it sustainable for the club with having a 3G pitch to hire out as well.
Ely in Cardiff is classed as a place of high depravation with high levels of crime and drugs also; we have won many awards for turning around our community for the better due to our football teams. We have created a better sense of community spirit and the proof that minis/juniors involved in sports are less likely to get involved in crime and drugs. We had a mural painted on the side of our changing rooms as a sort of nice welcome to our club and since it was painted over four years ago it hasn't been vandalised at all; they now respect the Rec and the changing rooms.
If there is anybody interested in sponsoring a football team, team's or our club as a whole we would welcome you to our fantastic Community Football Club -Cardiff Hibernian FC.
We have a website with information on and how the children are doing