Wadham School is inviting community groups and organisations who are regular users of the 1610 Sports Centre to make contact by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
In a general statement issued by Wadham School, Headteacher Matthew Gardner said: “We would ideally liked to have contacted regular users of the leisure centre prior to the change but we have not been privileged to any information regarding 1610’s customer base. 1610 have made the decision to stop using the leisure facility with effect from January 31st but we cannot use it, other than for the delivery of P.E. until the contract formally ends on March 31st. We greatly value our relationship with the local community and ultimately we hope to work with local groups and organisations to provide a resource that supports local sports and leisure activities.”
1610 Ltd. agreed to a 10 year contract to manage and run Crewkerne Sports Centre at Wadham on behalf of Somerset County Council in 2009. Somerset County Council announced in November last year that the Crewkerne 1610 sports centre would be transferred to Wadham School when the contract expired at the end of March 2019. Somerset County Cllr David Hall, cabinet member for economic development, planning and community infrastructure said at the time: “None of the eight leisure centres affected will close but the level of community access may be reduced as the schools will not be obligated to provide community access as part of any agreement to take on the facilities.”
Wadham School are currently working with the Local Authority and Futures for Somerset to identify sustainable options for the future of the sports and leisure centre and how these can be implemented. They are starting with no business experience in this field and no financial resources to purchase replacement equipment and to support other costs associated with the start-up of a new venture. Wadham School said: “Our priority is to make sure that what is put in place after 1610 leave, is what the local community wants and what we, as a school, are able to provide. However, we are hoping that we will have plans to share with the local organisations by the start of the next academic year.”
Sports teams and other local groups who regularly used Crewkerne Sports Centre and will hopefully only temporarily be without a venue include Crewkerne Rangers FC under 9’s team, the Saturday morning Badminton, U3A’s netball and walking football teams and Merriott Majorettes. Crewkerne Sports Centre was officially opened to the public on November 25th 2005 by David Laws MP. A grant from Sports England and various other revenue sources for community sports and leisure facilities helped to fund and equip the centre.
1610’s Head Office were invited to comment as to why they were ceasing activities in Crewkerne two months before the end of the 10 year contract with Somerset County Council. No direct response has so far been received, although a Customer Notice at Crewkerne Sports Centre states: “It is with great regret that we inform you that due to the funding from Somerset County Council being withdrawn, 1610 Crewkerne Sports Centre will close on Friday 25th January 2019 and will no longer be open to the public. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your continued support over the last 10 years.”