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Friday, 29 May 2015

Threatened sports centre is thrown lifeline

A TYNEDALE sports centre under threat of closure has been thrown a lifeline.

The Rede, Tyne and Coquet Sports Centre (RTC), in Otterburn, has taken a step closer to survival by securing a £50,000 Olympic legacy grant from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund.

The news of the funding follows last week’s announcement that Riding Mill Tennis Club, Hexham Squash Club, Allendale Golf Club, Haltwhistle Swimming and Leisure Centre and Corbridge Cricket Club had all received Sport England grants too.

The £50,000 for RTC will go towards a £120,000 refurbishment plan which includes a new roof, repair and upgrade of existing facilities, and the creation of new areas.

The work is much needed at the centre after it was plagued by a string of disasters at the back end of 2011.

First off, the centre’s insurers had to pay out to cover the cost of fixing a burst water pipe.

Things did not get any better as high winds ripped off a large section of its roof, forcing the centre to close.

To add insult to injury, the floor of the centre was severely damaged by rain water pouring into the building.

Despite the long list of problems, and the crippling costs associated with running it, the community has been working hard to raise funds for the centre – the only one within a 25-mile radius – and the Sport England money is a massive boost to the project.

Further matching grants were being applied for as the community pushed on to bring the centre up to the very highest standard.

RTC chairman Andrew Shone said: “We are delighted about securing the grant. It means we can get started with the centre renovation and it puts us at almost the halfway point for funds needed.

“Let’s hope that our other grant applications are just as successful so that we can give the people of Otterburn and the surrounding areas the facilities that they crave and deserve.”

Opened in 1988, the centre provides a range of sport and leisure activities including football, tennis, badminton, basketball, trampolining and dance.

During school holidays, it also runs a play scheme to offer a childcare service for working parents in the area.

RTC was one of 310 across England to receive National Lottery money in the third round of Inspired Facilities Funding, and will carry the London 2012 Inspire mark.

The news has delighted Otterburn Parish Council which was working hard to save the centre.

Chairman Coun. John Hartshorne said: “We are very proud of the RTC and the opportunities and facilities it offers to the people of Otterburn and further afield.

“It is a very precious resource in the village and surrounding areas, allowing people to practise a healthy lifestyle and to also meet socially.”

The opportunity to benefit from Inspired Facilities Funding remains open to sports club with the fourth round opening on March 4.