Sheffield's new FA football hub named in memory of city councillor

A multi-million pound FA standard football hub has been officially named in memory of a former Sheffield city councillor.

Monday, 6th March 2017, 8:50 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:50 am
Paul Turner, regional managing director of Robertson Yorkshire and East Midlands hands engraved spade to Isobel Bowlers husband Richard Taylor, along with Councillor Mary Lea, Councillor Tony Downing, Isobels daughter Mary Taylor, Clive Betts MP, plus other representatives from Robertson and Parklife centre operatives, Pulse Fitness.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place at the new football hub and community fitness facility on the site of the former Westfield school in, Mosborough, which will be officially named the Isobel Bowler Sports Ground in memory of the popular and dedicated councillor.

Councillor Bowler, who represented Mosborough ward, was cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure and was 'passionate' about improving access to sports facilities for all. She sadly died last year from cancer, leaving a husband and a teenage daughter.

It’s the third 'Parklife' football facility to be created in Sheffield, as part of a national partnership with The FA. Hubs in Norton and High Green are already up and running.

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Coun Mary Lea, who now holds the same portfolio on the city council, said: “Isobel was a wonderful colleague and friend and is very much missed by all of us here at Sheffield Council.

“I am glad to see that, with the new football hub being named in her memory, her legacy will live on in such a fitting way.

“Sports, arts and culture were so important to Isobel, and I hope that the facilities that now bear her name will inspire future generations of Sheffielders to take part in, enjoy, and excel at, grassroots football.”

Building work is now underway on this third hub, which is costing around £6m and will have two full-sized 3G artificial grass pitches, three natural grass pitches, a gym, changing rooms and a coach education space.

Councillor Lea added: “As home to the world’s oldest football club, it is only fitting that Sheffield should be leading the way nationally with this.

“The overarching aim is to halt the decline in football and turn it from a sport that requires subsidy into one that generates surplus. We also want to invest in future facilities and the development of the sport.

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, was at the ceremony today.

He said: “My friend Isobel was a brilliant and dedicated local councillor for Mosborough. It is entirely fitting that the new sports facilities she worked so hard to make a reality will be named after her.

“This is a very appropriate legacy and I was delighted to be present at the ground-breaking ceremony.”

Costs of the £6m Westfield project are being through a mix of funding from Sheffield City Council, the Football Association, the Football Foundation and Sport England.

Building work on the new facility is being carried out by Robertson Construction.