A COUNCILLOR has urged residents and businesses to join him on a sponsorship drive to help build the profile of Solihull’s sports clubs.
Cabinet member for environment and highways, Blythe councillor Ken Hawkins, has recently sponsored Earlswood Town Football Club at one of their matches.
The financial support is intended to help boost the club’s presence and sustainability while helping with matchday costs.
Coun Hawkins’ push comes amid a battle to save the Land Rover Sports and Social Club’s playing fields from Jaguar Land Rover’s plans to build on them – leaving 23 sports clubs with an uncertain future.
As we reported, more than 50 playing pitches in Solihull are earmarked for potential alternative development in the council’s Local Plan for housing up to 2028 – sparking fears for clubs and players.
But applications to build on playing fields can only be approved if pitches are judged surplus to requirements, or they are replaced by ‘equivalent or better provision’, as outlined in national planning policy.
We spoke with local club bosses including Solihull Moors youth coach Ant Hasker who claims the borough does not have many green spaces left for sports teams to use.
Coun Hawkins says sponsorship could be vital in helping other clubs in the borough.
He met with Earlswood Town’s chairman Keith Green to discuss sponsorship strategies to support the club in the future.
The Blythe councillor told us: “Many adults used these clubs when they were growing up and now we need to help sustain them for our own children and grandchildren.
“I will look to sponsor more teams.
“But I would like others to follow suit including councillors, companies and the general public alike.
“As mayor I sponsored Solihull Moors, Birmingham Bees and Camp Hill women’s rugby.
“I then sponsored the match ball of Solihull Rugby Club when my boys played.
“Our sports grounds and clubs are sacrosanct and not only need retaining but investing in.
“Even £50 for small clubs goes a long way to help them pay for expenses.
“Match officials, even at a lower level, are paid expenses and there are lots of opportunities in sponsoring team shirts etc.”
He has also set his sights on sponsoring a borough swimming club, although details are yet to be confirmed.
Mr Green said: “Ken really understands the value of local sports clubs to the community and with his expertise and wealth of knowledge we hope to raise awareness of Earlswood Town to attract new supporters and sponsors.”