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The heavy burden of a sporting dream

HELP NEEDED: Lincoln Moses outside the sports HUB

THE MAN who took the dream of a pioneering community sports hub and made it a reality now admits for the first time that his dream is in danger of becoming a burden that is just too heavy for him to carry.

Lincoln Moses, who already manages Continental Star, the UK’s oldest black-led community football club, became chairman of the groundbreaking community sports HUB at Holford Drive, Birmingham last year.

As a community asset transfer from cash-strapped Birmingham City Council, the HUB is seen as a blueprint which could be rolled out in other parts of the region.

Its first-class facilities are becoming a major attraction for sport lovers with more than 700 youngsters a week flocking to use the four football pitches, a cricket square, four floodlit tennis courts, multi-use games areas and a pavilion.

But the burden of maintaining it and keeping it all together falls heavily on Moses and his small team comprising of vice chairman John Homer and secretary Diane Sawyers, who incredibly are all volunteers.
In a heartfelt email to supporters two months ago, Moses revealed he was struggling with the workload.

Moses, who was awarded a MBE for services to community sport seven years ago, said: “The 40 to 50 hours pro-bono per week that I do to keep the dream going has increased my medical condition to the extent that I survive purely on medication rather than food and watch others having a healthier lifestyle.

“My mother recently said the Sports Hub will be the death of me – this dream which has become a reality should not be my sole responsibility.”

However, he has praised the sterling work of volunteers who have assisted in maintaining the pitches, from the caretaker at nearby Broadway School to mums with rotas helping him to cut the grass on sit upon mowers.

HONOUR: Lincoln Moses greeting Prince William when he opened the venue last December

Birmingham City Council has also provided some assistance. A spokesperson said: “We have met with Lincoln and made sure there is support for him within the city council, including a direct link officer who will spend some time at the HUB.

“We are also offering support to get improvements to pathways and crossings in Holford Drive outside the building.

“We are very supportive of community asset transfers and we will always support organisations, not only during the transfer process, but afterwards to ensure sustainability.”

Moses told The Voice: “When we first took over the HUB we called it a room without a roof because the building was just a shell.”

The multi-million pound makeover was made possible through capital receipts from the city council that was match-funded by national sporting bodies in football, cricket, boxing and lawn tennis.

It was officially opened by Prince William last December. The Prince and Moses have developed a rapport, having met several times at sporting events and shared their mutual love for Aston Villa.

Only last month, the second in line to the throne personally invited Moses to watch Villa get beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup Final.

Moses said: “I feel more help is coming into the HUB now I have said it like it is. I am determined not to let go of my dream which is changing the lives of hundreds of youngsters, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, at grassroots level.”

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