The Harrogate community is set to benefit from an investment in sporting facilities at Rossett Sports Centre.
Run by Rossett School, the sports centre has been working with Sport England to improve its playing fields, as well as reinvesting its own income.
Now the school is hoping that not just students, but more people in the community, will take advantage of the improved facilities.
Headteacher Helen Woodcock said:
Rossett is a community school for community use. We run the sports centre, we open our school for adult education classes, and we offer our sports pitches to the community.
“This new programme of investment in our sporting facilities will further improve our offer, and will allow even more people of all ages to take advantage of our sports programme.
Rossett’s football pitches are used by Beckwithshaw Saints Junior Football Club under a community partnership arrangement. More than 300 boys and girls of all ages play in the club’s 20 teams.
But the site lies on top of a natural spring, and quickly becomes waterlogged during wet weather. An investment of £120,000 is being made in drainage so the pitches can be used all year round.
The money is made up of £40,000 from Rossett School and £30,000 from Beckwithshaw Saints FC, while the rest will come from a Sport England grant. The funding from Sport England requires the school to adhere to an approved maintenance programme for the site.
Work on installing the new drainage will take place before the start of the new academic year in September.
Joe Joyce, Rossett’s director of finance said:
This will have a significant impact on sport at the school and also for the community.
As soon as the rainy season begins around November, it’s the end of the playing fields until around May. For the school, that means we have to be selective in games that we play on our pitches, and we also have to arrange a lot of matches away from school.
We will now be able to use them all year round, as well as students accessing the field at break time. It also means that Beckwithshaw Saints will have a really good pitch to play on, and the pitches will be available more for community use.
Richard Evans, chairman and U7 coach at Beckwithshaw Saints, said he was delighted that drainage improvements would take place to the pitches.
It’s quite a big investment for us as a club but it will take away any pitch concerns and allow us to concentrate on offering our players the chance to play proper football on proper pitches with proper referees.
Improvements are also to be made at Rossett Sports Centre, beginning with the refurbishment of the squash courts.
Sports centre management Josh Lyon said:
Since implementing the online booking system for our facilities in August 2015, our occupancy levels have significantly increased on the squash courts. This led to us accelerating the renovation works in time for the winter months.
The next stage to the development of the squash courts is to offer coaching and also set up competitive leagues in early 2017.
Ms Woodcock said:
The purpose in taking over the running of the sports centre from the council was to create a viable environment whereby we would generate income to reinvest back into the facility, both for the benefit of the school and the community.
We’ve seen that come to fruition over the last two years. We now have a programme of reinvestment which we will be implementing over the coming months.