Council resumes bookings for outdoor pitches

In line with new guidance issued by the Northern Ireland Executive relating to exercising at outdoor sports facilities from Monday, 12 April, the following Derry City and Strabane District Council owned grass surface facilities will be available for bookings from 12th April – the Foyle Arena; Melvin Sports Complex; Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium; Templemore Sports Complex; Brooke Park; Bishop’s Field; Caw 3G and all Council owned grass pitches across the Council area.

Under the new regulations up to 15 people – including coaches – are permitted to take part in structured outdoor sports training, through clubs or individuals affiliated to recognised sports governing bodies or representative organisations for sport and physical activity.

The new guidelines specify that initially adults are permitted to train as part of a group of 15 people including coaches only. Subject to pitch size and public health guidance, for those within the 13 to 18 years they can train as two groups of 15, while those aged 12 years and under can train as three groups of 15. Training is advised for essential participants only and guidelines around no car sharing, no spectators and gatherings remain in place.

Clubs and training organisations are being advised that they must adhere to the strict phase two cautious first steps as part of the Government’s COVID recovery plan that includes updated risk assessments, adherence to the Hands-Face-Space messaging, record keeping for contact tracing purposes and adjusting training programmes to reduce close contacts where possible as well as strict guidelines in relation to no spectators. There can be no competition within or between groups and coaches cannot move between groups. Only personal equipment can be used and there should be strictly no sharing of bibs, water bottles or other sports equipment.​
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, welcomed the reopening of the grass pitches as part of this phase two first steps to recovery programme, saying it was a positive step forward towards getting teams and clubs back training and involved in sporting activity. However, this does not include competitions and squad training. The only exemption to this are affiliated clubs with elite status.

He acknowledged the huge impact the lockdown has had on local clubs and sports enthusiasts and thanked them for their patience and compliance by urging them to err on the side of caution over the coming weeks and months and to continue to be vigilant and at all times following the Government guidelines.

“We are not out of the woods yet and it’s important that as we gradually and sequentially reopen some of our facilities through sub steps, we continue to keep social distancing, mask wearing and washing our hands, to the foremost of our minds,” he stressed.”It is really good news that we can return to outdoor sport but it’s important that we take all the necessary precautions to protect people and ensure we can move on to the next stages of reopening.

“I know that there are a lot of clubs out there who are really looking forward to getting back to training and sports activity and news that grass pitches are being made available for outdoor sports is really good news in terms of physical health and well being across our Council area.”

For bookings please go to http://derrystrabaneleisure.com/bookings/ 

For more information on the current restrictions go to https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-youEnds