Chapeltown Juniors FC unveils state-of-the-art new pitch thanks to generous Freemasons donation

Young football players in Chapeltown are enjoying a new state-of-the-art pitch thanks to a generous donation by the Freemasons.

By Abbey Maclure
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 4:11 pm

Chapeltown Juniors FC, which is part of Chapeltown Youth Development Centre (CFYDC), was awarded £24,700 by Headingley’s Lodge of Dawn Freemasons earlier this year to resurface the club’s multi-use games area.

The junior teams, aged four to nine, were grappling with waterlogged pitches on the fields at the club's Prince Philip Centre base - causing cancelled games and training sessions

The new artificial-turf five-a-side football pitch will mean the grassed pitches will be used less, keeping them in a better state.

Chapeltown Juniors FC has unveiled its new artificial turf five-a-side pitch after a £24,700 donation from the North Leeds Lodge of Dawn Freemasons. Pictured at the front is Michael Rose, charity co-ordinator for Lodge of Dawn, Christian Higgins, Worshipful Master Lodge of Dawn and coach Jake Boyd

“It was brilliant to get the donation," Jake Boyd, who runs the club’s foundation age teams, said.

"You know it’s going to engage the kids all year round, not just depending on how the weather is.

“Games and training would often get cancelled because the pitches got waterlogged so quickly, or they would be frozen solid which is also dangerous.

“The kids are buzzing with it, they aren't bothered by the weather. They just want to play."

CFYDC, founded by Lutel James and Will Bowler in 2002, takes a child-centred approach to its network of support, engaging young people through activities such as music, holiday camps and sports clubs.

The football club has been the training ground for several players who have since turned professional, with star alumni including former Leeds United and now Hull City player Malik Wilks and Barnsley’s Clarke Oduor.

Jake, who has volunteered at the club for the past six years, added: "As Lutel always says, ‘if you don’t find kids something positive to do, they’ll end up doing something you don’t want them to do’.

"It engages them, keeps them on the right path and they’ve got good mentors who serve as positive role models. For the kids in ethnic minority groups, there’s a lot of coaches that look like them which is really important.

“It’s something I’ve got a passion for and I enjoy working specifically at Chapeltown because there’s a real ‘one club’ feeling throughout different age groups.

“There’s a proper community feeling to it.”

Raymond Diamond, preceptor of The Lodge of Dawn, said: "When I first met the guys on behalf of the Lodge, back in December 2020, I thought we were just going to be supplying the balance of the money needed to build the MUGA.

"However, once I got talking to Jake, Luthel and the team, I realised how much more than providing an all weather pitch our donation would deliver.

"It has had an enormous and ongoing positive effect on the whole of the Chapeltown community and everyone at The Lodge of Dawn is very proud to be associated with CYDC.

"As Freemasons, we support many local projects, and always welcome approaches from any local registered charity that needs help.

"For anyone that would like to request support, details can be found at www.thelodgeofdawn.co.uk."

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