New ‘Sports Network’ set up as first step to improving Uttlesford’s sporting facilities

Uttlesford District Council headquarters on London Road, Saffron Walden. Uttlesford District Council headquarters on London Road, Saffron Walden.

Monday, June 23, 2014
2:48 PM

Uttlesford District Council has set up a new ‘Sports Network’ to improve sports facilities across the district.

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Representatives from the council’s leisure facilities operator – 1Life – Active Essex, Saffron Walden County High School and district-wide sporting organisations are all on board.

The network’s inaugural meeting and official launch took place at the council offices last Wednesday (June 18).

It will work together to improve sports facilities, tap into funding initiatives and establish clear club development routes for participants as well as identify further needs.

Cllr Howard Rolfe, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Uttlesford District Council, said: “Sport in Uttlesford is already successful and highly valued and I hope that this initiative will help us to enhance our facilities and plan for future generations of sport participants.

“The council takes the provision of adequate sporting facilities and participation in sport whether semi-professional or recreational as a serious matter.”

He added: “Sport is an important item in its own right but it is also fundamental in delivering positive social interaction and improved health and well-being across our community.”

Phil Wallis, contract manager at 1Life, said: “I am delighted to be chairing the new Active Uttlesford Group and pleased with the feedback during the meeting. It is important to 1Life that we are encouraging the community to get the most out of life in both leisure centres and community clubs and gyms across the district.”

The district council has also set up a sub-group for the sporting groups specific to Saffron Walden.

With the support of the sports clubs at the meeting, Derek Jones, president of WaldenTRI, agreed to lead the development of this new sports group.

He said: “Both these initiatives are a step in the right direction. Given a growing in population, we need to provide the best possible sports facilities for our community.

“Most of our local sports clubs are already working to the limit of their available resources and cannot easily meet the growing demand without further investment.”

Mr Jones added: “An integrated and coordinated approach between the clubs, Saffron Walden Town Council and Uttlesford District Council is the way forward. With the new opportunities and support through Active Essex we should feel positive about our local sporting future.”

The sub group will consider availability, provision and current and future use of sporting facilities in the town.

Subject to the success of this group and demand elsewhere, similar groups could be set up for other key towns in the district, according to the district council.

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