Delight as ‘Jim’s Pitch’ gets funding for repairs

Football pitch will be open again after £60k worth of work

Monday, 30th May — By Harry Taylor

cammarch Image 2022-03-25 at 15.11.02

The locked up pitch in Belsize Park

RESIDENTS in a Belsize Park housing estate are celebrating after the council agreed to fund repairs to a closed football pitch.

“Jim’s Pitch” on the Russell Nurseries estate had been shut after the council said it couldn’t afford repairs to the ground. It overlooks Belsize Woods and is subsiding, with the railway sleepers that line the outside already leaning upwards.

Initially Town Hall officials told Rachelle McFarland that she would need to raise the full £30,000 costs.

The pitch is named after her father, Jim, who raised £50,000 for it as part of the Play and Leisure Scheme (Pals) group in 2000, before he died suddenly.

However, a fortnight ago a council officer got in touch to say that they had found £53,000 to do the work, and to make some improvements.

Ms McFarland, 35, said: “It’s amazing and I’m over the moon about it. Everyone on the estate has missed it, and they’re going to install a basketball hoop as well, and the kids are all wild for it so they’ll be delighted too.”

Jim McFarland

It is expected to reopen in spring 2023. The nearby Globe Lawn Tennis Club has donated £2,000 for sports equipment.

Ms McFarland said: “We’re having a party for the jubilee and it’s going to be even bigger now because we’ve got two reasons to celebrate.”


Camden’s housing chief Meric Apak said: “The Russell Nurseries multi-use games area, also known as Jim’s Pitch, is a popular local venue for residents to enjoy sports and activities.

“The multi-use games area has been allocated some funding in the new housing capital programme. Council officers will look at the possible works required and review these with local representatives.

“I can’t find out how I will get the £150 they’re talking about and the changes to pricing we are currently seeing for materials.”

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