A RUGBY club which provides sporting opportunities to hundreds of children in Warrington has explained the huge impact of a recent situation.
Bank Quay Bulls Rugby League Club have had to halt training sessions and games at their home grounds at Dallam Playing Fields.
The reason for this is the latest appearance of travellers, which has happened several times recently, who have set up camp illegally.
At present, three caravans and associated vehicles have stopped at the Longshaw Street site after arriving on Thursday last week.
The group were temporarily allowed to stay by Warrington Borough Council due to a medical issue, with the situation to be reviewed regularly, and given portable toilets to ‘ensure public hygiene’.
But the unauthorized encampment has a detrimental impact on the club as a whole, its volunteers and the hundreds of local children who make up the teams.
Club chairman Kelly Cragg said: “We have children playing at our club from five years old to 15, and after two years without rugby or fundraising due to Covid, we have long been anticipating our return to normality within the club.
“We have now been brought to a halt again by the appearance of travelers hijacking our playing fields which has brought all rugby activity to a halt due to backup issues.
“This is the second time in just over a month that they have endangered the safety of children by taking advantage of our training sessions and entering our pitches while our doors are open, to allow the safe arrival and departure of children attending training.
“Vehicles entered the field at high speed so as not to be impeded from doing so, regardless of the large number of children present.”
The club was due to hold its annual Bundy Day on August 6 – a memorial fundraiser in honor of former player Alan ‘Bundy’ Clare, who died while on vacation.
Travelers in the playgrounds of Dallam
But a decision must be made given the situation, much to the disappointment and frustration of organizers.
“Alan loved Bank Quay Bulls and we loved him, and we are holding this fundraising event in his honor, and with the blessing and participation of his family,” Kelly continued.
“Having Bundy Day return after two years without being able to hold the event was much anticipated by all of our volunteers, players and our families, and it would also be a great way to bring joy and entertainment to the wider community. .
“However, all of our event coordinators’ efforts may have been wasted due to the current encampment, and we may have to cancel this incredible event if a resolution is not reached.
“This will not only delay our fundraising abilities to provide much needed equipment and kits to children across the club, but it would be another year without being able to come together and celebrate Alan as we normally would and would like to do. .
“I speak on behalf of our entire committee, volunteers, players and parents when I say that the frustration we feel is extremely high.
“We find it very difficult to have hope that this matter will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
“We have long campaigned for our grounds to be fenced off and we are now also looking at preventative measures to prevent these trespassing from happening in the future, but this again comes at a cost to the club and will not be a solution overnight. on the next day. ”
The club have also raised a number of concerns in recent months over dog soiling on Dallam playing fields.
Warrington Borough Council and Warrington South MP Andy Carter recently had their say on the latest on the situation.