The new Athletics Hub takes shape at John Wright Sports Centre
After nearly four years of planning, consultation, and fund-raising by a few dedicated and resolute volunteers in East Kilbride, building work started on the Athletics Hub at the John Wright Sports Centre.
The Hub, which is due to be up and running by the summer of 2015, will be the clubhouse of two local athletics clubs, Whitemoss AAC and East Kilbride AC.
The project has been made possible thanks to a package of financial support from a range of funders, including South Lanarkshire Council Whitelees Wind Farm Renewable Energy Fund (£30,409); sportscotland Sports Facilities Fund (£69,315); Biffa Award (£42,054); The Robertson Trust (£20,000); as well as contributions from both clubs, Whitemoss AAC (£27,409) and East Kilbride AC (£4,637).
The Hub will be a two-storey building. On the lower floor there will be a flexible classroom space for education and training programmes for athletes, coaches and volunteers; a small strength and conditioning area; a storage room for each club; an administration office and two toilets. The upper floor will provide a coaches library/meeting space, further storage and two further toilets.
It is a small, but significant building for both clubs, who up until now have been running their respective volunteer programmes from two ‘not fit for purpose’ portacabins.
In the past, the poor quality of clubhouse facilities had meant that volunteers had to travel to attend education and training opportunities, which inhibited the recruitment of new volunteers and caused inconvenience to existing volunteers. Having a facility that allows the clubs to hold local education opportunities for volunteers will greatly enhance their ability to recruit, support and deploy new and more volunteers who are the backbone of community sport.
Graham Ravenscroft, Whitemoss AAC Chair, said: ‘The Athletics Hub will transform club athletics in the local area not only for current club members, coaches and volunteers, but for generations to come.
‘We hope that everyone using this fantastic facility will be empowered to realise their potential and ambitions, whatever standard they aspire to reach.’
Councillor Chris Thompson, Chair of South Lanarkshire Council’s Enterprise Services Committee said: ‘The Athletics hub is a great new facility for East Kilbride and South Lanarkshire which will encourage more people to be involved in sport and athletics and is another example of how South Lanarkshire Council’s Renewable Energy Fund is helping communities and groups improve their facilities.’
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: ‘We are delighted that the £69,315 award from the sportscotland Facilities Fund is helping deliver this wonderful initiative and the Athletics Hub will be of real benefit to the local community.
‘At sportscotland we are fully committed to providing more and better opportunities for people to take part in sport and physical activity and we view this project as a key part of this commitment.’
Gillian French, Biffa Award Programme Manager, said: ‘This project is an excellent example of how the Landfill Communities Fund can help revitalise sports clubs for the benefit of local enthusiasts and the community.
‘For more than 16 years recreation facilities across the UK have benefited from the scheme and the organisations that award grants through the fund look forward to supporting more in the future.’
Kenneth Ferguson, Director of The Robertson Trust, said: ‘This enhanced facility is going to enable the clubs to build on the excellent work they already do and support more young people within their communities to make positive life choices. The Robertson Trust is delighted to be able to provide them with support to turn their vision into a reality.’
Gordon Colvin, East Kilbride Athletics Club President, said: ‘Those of us involved in the sport of athletics are aware of the many positive benefits it confers upon participants of any age.
‘This new Athletics Hub will be a tremendous asset to East Kilbride and I believe will help capture those inspired by the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and assist them in a path to achievement – whether that be in performance athletics, coaching or administration.
‘It is a real investment in the future of the sport in this area. Thanks are due to the dedicated team who made it happen and the various organisations who provided the funding.’
With thanks for this report to: Sandra Frame, vice-president Whitemoss AAC