Dear Volunteer Managers, Coaches, Parents & Neighbours.
The statutory consultation period has now concluded, and we have received some great support from the general public. While the overriding response is that this will be a great facility for the young within our community, some reservations have been raised around noise and light. Our technical team will work on this area to ensure we can work with the neighbours in a harmonious way in the future.
There has been some lobbying of residents against the project and misrepresenting the intentions of the Football Club in this project. With this in mind, we want to be very clear as to our intentions. The Education/Sports Hub will run as a not-for-profit organisation serving the community (the School’s students, teachers, and parents as well as the Club’s members young and old). The word “commercial” has been used to taint the project, so that does need further clarification. All operating activity will be limited to the members and school for the lifetime of the facility, and any operating proceeds will be retained for maintenance, sinking funds, and further investment into facilities. It will remain a private members club outside of school hours and will only be used by people who meet our future membership requirements. The Hub is to serve & enhance education/sport across the board within the town. This is the first step, in what we hope will see us building 4 more AGP’s within the town across multiple sports. We have also heard people use the word “stadium” to evoke fear, but we have no intentions now or in the future to build a “stadium”. We are a community club whose future lies in educating the young of this town through sport. Our plans for the 2018/19 season include 40 children’s teams (5 to 18), 3 youth teams (18 to 21), one senior team, plus walking football (average age of 62). We are an amateur football club with the sole purpose to serve the community of Bracknell by providing a safe, secure facility for our members, and for them to be coached by coaches who are graduates of our program.
We want to add value to education & sport within the town and are saddened to hear all be it a very limited number of people try and spin this into a negative story, we are open to reducing the floodlight impact and we will actively work to mitigate noise. We understand residents have fears, and change can be frightening, but we hope those residents can embrace the Education/Sports Hub. We are building this for the community of Bracknell!
Dr. Phillip Lee, MP for Bracknell, was welcomed on a visit to the site of a proposed sports and education hub at Ranelagh school by head teacher Beverley Stevens.
Project ambassador Steve Shortland, Director of Sport at Wellington College, led a walk of the proposed site as he highlighted the key benefits of the ambitious plans:
“As well as building a new state of the art facilities for Netball, Rugby, Football and Athletics, providing outstanding playing, coaching and training opportunities for children and young people in the community from the age of 6 to Adult, the project would be offering educational opportunities to young athletes at the age of 16.
Our aim would be to have coaching courses and qualifications running alongside the school curriculum so that we could look to add to the athlete’s opportunities in the club and the local community. The overall aim being that although we accept some athletes will move on to higher education and maybe even a better standard of sports, the majority would find work in the local community and continue their association with the schools/clubs in either a playing or coaching capacity or both. Part of the projects end goal would also be a real focus on exit strategies and work in the local community.”
Mrs. Stevens emphasised the “extraordinary opportunity for the school, which would be utterly unattainable in the current financial climate. The opportunity for these first-class facilities to benefit the young people in the community is not to be missed.” She shared the results of recent consultations, with “The young people and their parents are supportive and very excited about it, as it will provide a wide range of sporting and educational facilities”
After hearing about the plans and visiting with staff and learners at the school, Dr Lee commented, “Whilst needing to take note of local residents’ concerns, we have an exciting venture here. By utilising this land for the greater good – not just for football and sport, but also for education – the facilities in Bracknell will be much improved and I will be providing my full support for this project.”