Cumbria has seen some horrific weather these past few weeks - well, these past few months! In fact, we don’t seem to see much good weather at all. While this is inconvenient for all of us, young people and adults wishing to take part in sports club and events feel the effects even more harshly. 


I had the honour of speaking to Mrs Sarah Brack, who alongside Matty Thomson has set up a campaign for an all-weather pitch in Keswick.


After seeing the all-weather pitch at St Benedict’s School in Whitehaven, Mrs Brack realised that this was an incredible facility that Keswick is missing. After a conversation with Mr Thomson, the pair realised that Keswick is one of the only towns in Cumbria without all-weather sports facilities. 


A campaign to get Keswick a 4G pitch amassed over 650 signatures, and the cause was even featured in the Keswick Reminder, but still, we are no closer to bringing accessible sports facilities, no matter the weather, to rainy Cumbria. This comes as a real disappointment not just for Mrs Brack and Mr Thomson, but to the residents of Keswick and the wider Cumbrian community, especially after the closure of Keswick Leisure Centre as a result of prolonged closure during the coronavirus pandemic. When asked about the link between the pool closure and the 4G pitch campaign, Mrs Brack commented that ‘as a parent, I now have to travel to take my daughter to swimming lessons, and her school have been forced to bus the children to Penrith for their mandatory lessons’. In a time of increased fuel prices, and a larger global awareness about global warming, I’m sure we can all agree that this is far from ideal. 


As a town, Keswickians often have to watch as facilities become available that prioritise tourists, rather than the residents. Mrs Brack states that ‘the all-weather will be for the whole community, and I’m sure tourists would enjoy the facility too’. 


The sad fact of the matter is that it is residents and young people that suffer from this lack of provision. Mrs Brack comments that ‘it is vital for children to have access to sport as it helps their mental and physical health’. According to a survey from YoungMinds, 80% of young people agreed that the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse. Data from the National Centre for Biotechnology Information confirms ‘significant increases in body weight and BMI during lockdown among school-age children and adolescents’. 


Local politicians have also demonstrated support for the cause, with Cllr Markus Campbell-Savours and Keswick Mayor Steve Harwood conceding that Keswick is in dire need of an all-weather pitch. MP Trudy Harrison has also offered her support, and encouraged Mrs Brack and Mr Thomson to make contact with her when they find an appropriate site. Landowners in Keswick with space to spare are encouraged to contact Mrs Brack should they be able to suggest a suitable location, or offer their own grounds. 


Mrs Brack concluded our interview drawing attention to the cancellations of rugby and football matches across the town. Keswick School has been forced to cancel after-school sports clubs as a result of the weather conditions, meaning that children are unable to let off steam after a long day of school, or socialise within the greater school community, a vital life skill. 


The residents of Keswick have spoken, and they say we need an all-weather pitch. What do you say? 


You can follow Mrs Brack and Mr Thomson’s campaign on Instagram, @keswick_allweatherpitch, or via the Facebook group. To show support for their campaign, contact your local MP and highlight the need for this facility. Alternatively, spread the word! 


Come on, Cumbria! Let’s pull together. Let’s do this for the community.