A joint venture from Birtley Town FC and Birtley Town Juniors has seen Birtley Welfare Park go through restoration work to return the site to former glories.

Birtley Town FC and Birtley Town Juniors have been working in partnership to ensure the long-term future of the The Welfare is secured. The Welfare in previous years had been home to Birtley St Joseph’s. In recent years the pitch was not used by anyone associated with the town and the outer areas were left looking derelict and overgrown.  The club has been working alongside Gateshead Council and have secured an initial 12 month license on the premises with the long-term aim to take on the premises for the foreseeable future. The club is continuing to grow its number and the additional facilities at the Welfare will immediately become the home of Birtley Town Development who compete in Wearside league Division 2. 

A community feel: Steve Carroll and Ian Wade chip in with the restoration work by painting the home dressing room.

A ‘tidy the park’ event was held in early September and this helped to ensure the site was beginning to show signs of restoration. The event brought members of the community together in collecting rubbish, cleaning the changing rooms and decorating the interior of the building. The club has been working with an external agency to help improve the playing surface. 

Richie Barrett helped the lads get the changing rooms ready for action.

Chairman Paul Beat is excited about the project and the growth of the club. “The decision to add the welfare to the club sites has been quite a long time coming, we needed to make sure we had the right people in place to make sure it was a success and to be able to give it the time and effort it requires.”

“At the moment The Welfare will predominately be the home pitch for our Development Squad, giving them a home pitch that is better suited to allowing our young players develop as they move into senior football. But will also act as a secondary site to our junior section and Sunday team if there’s a period that the Arrowmark site pitches need a break.”

“Personally I’m over the moon to be part of a group of volunteers who are breathing some life back into the place. I played there for many years when I was younger, as did a hell of a lot of people from in and around the town. It would have been a travesty if it was left to ruin.”

“When we first announced we were taking on the project, the response from the community was fantastic as well. Some great helpers on our clean up day, and a special mention needs to go to Steve Minto, Scott Brown (Tuna) and Richie Barret for their efforts on site. Here’s hoping it proves to be a site that more and more of our community enjoys as the time goes on.”

 

The first game at the Welfare will take place this Saturday with Birtley Town Development competing against Belmont United in Wearside League Division 2. Entry to the ground is free and any support would be appreciated. Meanwhile our 1st team will be in FA Vase action against Newton Aycliffe FC

Birtley Town Development at our ‘tidy the park’ event.

 

Birtley Town Development Manager Dan Irving is excited to get started “We are very excited to be given the opportunity to represent our club at the Welfare. Through the history of the club I know how important the ground is to the people of Birtley. We will do our upmost to make it part of the community again. We want to make the ground a fortress and a place that away sides find hard to leave with a positive result. I have fond memories of playing here myself and scored a couple of hat-tricks from midfield I may add!”

“I also want to place on record my immense appreciation to the club, the volunteers and every single person that has played a part in the huge impact and clean-up operation since we were given the green light to return. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by us all. We can’t wait to get going and hope to see you down there on Saturday. Up the Hoops!” 

The club is still looking for additional resources to maintain the site including storage containers and pitch maintenance equipment. If anyone is interested in volunteering to help maintain the Welfare then please contact us. 

The club would like to pay thanks to Steve Minto, Richie Barrett, Gateshead Council and our local community for helping get Birtley Welfare Park restored to a position where it can host competitive football again. 

The club would like to thank Steve Minto for his continued work in supporting the initiative at Birtley Welfare Park.