Crouch End public football pitch 'dangerous' for children

Mud and gravel football pitch pictured in winter

"We've had a lot of injuries." - Credit: Matt Fletcher

A Crouch End teacher is fundraising to replace a "dangerous" public football pitch in Stationers Park.

Alex Lyons, a singing teacher at Weston Park School, is hoping to crowdfund £15,000 to build a multi sports pitch. Made from a rubberised surface, the pitch will be suitable for football, netball and basketball. 

The initiative was inspired by Alex's football-loving sons, who kept getting injured after playing on the pitch next to their home.

Dirt and gravel football pitch

The pitch in Stationers Park. - Credit: Alex Lyons

"My son Oscar, who is 12, is really, really obsessive about playing football. He needs to play mostly every day," Alex said.

"We moved to this house because it was so close to the park. Oscar could go and play football [in Stationers Park] all the time, but the surface is really not good enough for the sort of very physical football that he's playing."

Oscar has loved playing football ever since he was five. But the pitch's gravelly surface has caused minor injuries when players tackle or dive for balls.

"We've had a lot of injuries not just from him, but his friends getting grazed hips, knees, and elbows," she said.

Two young boys with blonde hair in football shirts

Benjy and Oscar. - Credit: Alex Lyons

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The nearest free pitches are in Elthorne Park and Whittington Park, outside Haringey. Alex said taking her children to pitches outside of the borough is "time consuming, bad for the environment and not fair on the residents there".

"When you have really sporty kids and you haven't got a very big garden, you realise how important it is to be able to take your children to these sort of facilities," Alex said.

Alex is hoping to raise enough money to give Stationers Park a much-needed upgrade. So far £3,552 has been raised.

The actor who played Effy in Channel 4's Skins, Kaya Scodelario, has donated.

She said: "Lovely idea. Thanks so much for setting up."

Actor Kaya Scodelario

Actor Kaya Scodelario - Credit: Matt Crossick/PA

Alex said: "It's unfortunate that we have to supplement the council's funding for things like this. But I think this is the way it is now."

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “We want to collaborate with Haringey residents and community stakeholders to co-design and co-produce improvements to our parks and green open spaces here in the borough.

"We are therefore very grateful to Alex Lyons for taking the initiative to set up this Crowdfunder fundraising campaign and we too will be investing at least £20,000 to upgrade the ball court/football pitch at Stationers Park."

To donate, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/resurfacing-stationers-park-games-area#start