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Update on the Community Athletics Centre
31 March 2014
THE BENEFITS of Stratford Town Trust’s £1million CommYOUnity Challenge will be realised as soon as September – with one of the winners racing towards the finish line.
A joint project to build a new community centre, a partnership between Stratford Athletics Club and Stratford School, is soon to become a reality.
It was one of three projects winning the Town Trust’s CommYOUnity Challenge at the start of February – sharing the £1 million prize.
The Trust awarded a £240,000 grant to the club and school to build the centre for the people of Stratford.
Planning permission has already been secured, with building work set to start by June. An official opening is planned to coincide with the club championships at the start of September.
The single-storey building will be built next to the existing athletics track on the school site in Alcester Road; the track itself was funded by the Town Trust a decade ago.
The building has been designed to cater for all with a kitchen, store rooms, toilet and large community room. There will be underfloor heating and concertina doors leading to a patio area. The building will also be timber-clad to help it blend into its surroundings.
Paul Bearman, from Stratford Athletics Club, said it would be a centre for all – with a minimum 75 per cent of its available time dedicated to community activities.
He sees it as providing a lasting legacy – improving the health of people across the area.
“It will be a unique facility for south Warwickshire – we have sports halls, village halls, but nothing like this.”
He envisaged the centre being used for classes like Pilates or Yoga – which could be taken outside in the summer. And mother and baby groups, which could similarly make the most of the centre’s spacious outdoor surroundings, while having a warm base to go back to.
It will also be an additional base for the athletics club – more space in which to train more coaches, meaning new members can join; some 400 children train with the club every week, but more than 100 are currently on waiting lists. The centre will also increase the range of outreach support that the club it is able to provide.
“It’s about getting people out and about in the fresh air; encouraging children to look at sports, encouraging adults who might not want to go to the gym, but who might want to run around the track,” Mr Bearman added.
The centre will be used by Stratford School the remaining 25 per cent of the time, and it will be the school which oversees its management and maintenance.
Work on the two other projects to share the CommYOUnity Challenge prize is also underway.
Stratford Samaritans won the largest share - £420,000 – for a Communities Hub operating from one single point in Stratford and providing a range of support to vulnerable members of the community.
The second charity to win big on the night was Escape Community Arts – awarded £340,000 for a heritage arts project, transforming Stratford’s old slaughterhouse into an urban gallery.
Claire Bowry, Grants Manager at Stratford Town Trust, is working closely with the winners.
She said: “We’re absolutely delighted to see Stratford Athletics Club and Stratford School making such strides. Their quick progress is a testament to all of the hard work they have put in.
“The community centre will be a wonderful new facility for the club and school - and importantly for the wider community too. The CommYOUnity Challenge was all about projects that would be of real benefit to Stratford, with a genuine legacy value, and the centre will certainly fulfil that.”
Mr Bearman said it would not have been possible without the Town Trust.
“Stratford Town Trust have been amazing supporters of ours. People living in Stratford don’t always realise how lucky they are. To have an organisation like the Town Trust - prepared to put its money where its mouth is and support the community"