Community Leisure Facilities

A facility that’s fit for the whole community

To be a success, the facilities must be accessible for all and available to schools, the local community and local sports clubs.

We strongly believe this facility should be for the whole community and provide high quality sports facilities on the school site to facilitate a broad school sport curriculum, significant extra-curricular sports activities, a community sports hub for local clubs and a community sports centre for the growing local population.

The planned facilities would include an indoor sports hall, changing facilities, meeting spaces, car parking, floodlit synthetic turf playing surfaces, playing fields and tennis courts.

The project is a joint venture involving:

• The Three Rivers Learning Trust
• Sport England
• The Football Foundation
• Local community sports clubs
• Northumberland County Council
• Construction companies

Initial discussions have taken place with stakeholders, many of whom were involved in the delivery of exciting world class athletics facilities on the site, and they are considering involvement in further sports development financially and strategically.

The delivery model would be based on the successful partnership in Cramlington between the Cramlington Learning Village and Active Northumberland.

Community and school use will be enabled to maximise the benefits of the new facilities during the school day and weekends.

An additional benefit would be the space currently used for indoor sport within the school which would be released to enable the school to accept more students as the Morpeth population expands.

Parent and wider community case studies

Joe Evans is originally from Pennsylvania in the USA, but has lived in the Morpeth area for the last 40 years and would welcome a multi-use sports facility on the KEVI site, where his three sons attended school.

He explained: “All three of my sons, the youngest of which is now 23, went to school at KEVI, and while none of my children studied PE at A Level, they were all actively involved in sport and still live in the local area.

“Lots of people want to study PE at KEVI, but with its current facilities spaces on the course each year are limited. The fact that North East England can be very wet is another limitation as you can’t play competitive sport on natural surfaces when they’re wet, which is a lot of the time. This proposal would solve that.

“It’s also very dark for the winter months, which make up a good proportion of the school year, and that’s also a limitation.

“This will be leisure resource shared with the local community, which can only be a good thing. It’s better to have one top-class facility than a number of smaller, less well-funded facilities over a greater distance, and the school is within walking distance of Morpeth town centre, with a new link road with access from the Northern bypass.”

Asked why he feels strongly that the KEVI site should be developed in this way, Joe replied: “All my immediate family live in the local area. My kids live in the area, and my grandkids will hopefully go to KEVI and use the facility. I don’t want them to face the same issues that my children did in not having a school sports hall.

“I see this as a long-term thing. It’s about an investment for the future and I will directly and indirectly benefit. I think it will be welcomed by the community in general, and Morpeth deserves an investment in leisure facilities for the community.”

Stephen Rank moved to Morpeth in 1992 and brought up three children in the area. His youngest daughter has just completed her A Levels at The King Edward VI School. He said: “All of my children have been massively involved in sport, even being fortunate enough to get county honours for Northumberland in rugby, hockey, and running.

“The King Edward VI School competes with private schools that have better facilities, so this proposal will provide the opportunity for our kids to compete on a level playing field and the improvement in facilities will be reflected in their results.”

Stephen’s wife uses the school’s current running track as a Morpeth Harrier, and he himself often referees at children’s rugby games in the local area, so the family will continue to benefit despite having no school age children.

Stephen explained: “A match often can’t be played in poor weather, and Morpeth Rugby Club doesn’t have an all-weather surface, so an all-weather facility would certainly help them out.”

Stephen also feels his daughters will continue to make use of the school site when they return to the area, whether as visitors or more permanently.

He added: “Morpeth is a very big sporting area and extra facilities will be a real benefit to the community as a whole.”

Student case studies

Rory Leonard is 17, and as well as studying as part of the KEVI Sixth Form community, he is an international sprint and middle distance athlete, primarily at 3,000 metres and cross country.

Even though he already has access to a quality outdoor running track on school premises, he said of the plans: “Having an indoor sports hall would be a massive help to a lot of people, because the school could encourage more people to use it. In the winter the track is icy, and I’d be keen to have somewhere indoors to do strength training and conditioning.

“The school helps me a lot already, but having even better facilities would be just great. Tournaments could be held here, and there’d be more awareness of the school facilities to help make that more likely.”

Asked what benefit the project might have for less elite athletes, Rory suggested the space could be used to offer paid work, and work experience to KEVI students, who could help clean and maintain kit, and administer reception.

“The middle school students could also look forward to coming up to the school and people may even want to come from outside the area because we’ll be able to offer a wider range of sports for people to try out and see what they like. It would be good to be able to offer more facilities for disabled people to play sport; that should be part of it.

Bobbie Griffiths, 17, is studying PE: Sport and Physical Activity Level 3 Extended Certificate at KEVI Sixth Form, and outside school, competes at javelin, as well as playing hockey and netball.

She said of the plan: “It will help us with netball training as we can’t use the courts at the moment. It’s summer so the tennis nets are up. Having an indoor sports hall would mean people could play netball or tennis at the same time. And because we don’t have floodlights at the moment, we often have to stop playing early when it gets dark in the winter. Last season, the team only scored about two goals because we couldn’t get enough training in.

“A new building could also help people feel excited about taking part in a sport. Some of my team mates hate using old kit, like hockey sticks, which just isn’t nice.

“It would be great to have good quality facilities that could mean high quality coaches would be more willing to come to the school and to the area.”