The Upstairs Development of the John Clements Sports and Community Centre
We are a Charitable Trust whose objectives are to create facilities and funds, in memory of John Clements GC, the local teacher who gave his life saving the lives of 35 children during a skiing trip to Italy in 1976. The Trust supports the advancement of sporting, recreational and community activities in the rural village of Codicote and its neighbourhood. All monies raised go to the local clubs and community as grants, or are further invested in the Centre below to meet the above objectives which John himself would have supported as a teacher and keen sportsman from the village.
In April 2015 we were able to open the new Centre, a facility for both the village and the wider community, thanks to a wide range of large and small funders donating £600,000 over a 3 year period of fund raising – a big thank you to all those funders.
The Centre has been a great success in a number of ways with increases in people participating in sporting, fitness and community activities, more money given in grants awarded to local clubs and in further enhancements made to the building in the each of the first four operating years.
Club sporting activity covers junior, senior and women’s football, tennis, cricket, table tennis, indoor bowls and bingo and new activities in mini rugby, mini cricket, karate and netball. The Centre is also becoming a Centre of Excellence for fitness and wellbeing with four instructors running classes in pilates, circuit training, body conditioning and yoga .
Importantly the Centre is equally well used by the village for community/social activities – weddings, christenings and wakes, children’s clubs (Rainbows), by disabled groups, parties for all ages, quiz nights, choir and musical events, themed evenings, wine tastings, Bridge events, exhibitions and art classes.
In addition, the JC Community Cafe has been launched two mornings a week and has been enthusiastically welcomed by all, especially young parents and older people keen to find a place in the village to socialise during the week. This has now extended to some afternoon sessions to satisfy demand.
The Trust is run by a Board of Trustees and Management Committee, overseeing 60 volunteers and one part time paid member of staff – ALL from the village.
Success and growth, however, create their own growing pains and we have been struggling for space to accommodate the above activities and have even had to restrict current users and turn down new activities
The Trustees therefore wished to develop the remaining available 120 m2 of space in the roof area of the building above the existing bar lounge allowing the “flexing” of activities between the 160m2 main hall and the new upstairs area. This will include health and fitness studio space and partitioned space for a range of community uses – bingo, meetings, break out facilities and space for social and community gatherings with attractive views on to the sports fields and tennis courts from new balconies.
Costing a total of c. £280,000, this project was started in mid-June 2021 and was completed in August 2021.
There is strong local enthusiasm among the existing clubs and user groups for this new development. It will give environmental and user benefits, by people not having to drive another15 minutes each way to alternative exercise venues outside of the village – the village is over 70% dependent on car transport with no public transport after 5.30 pm. The project has the support of the Parish, District and County Councils and planning permission has been granted by the local planning authority. Plans are available for viewing at any time in the Centre lounge bar area.
Importantly this development will realise the full potential of the Centre by creating opportunities to open during the day and by offering more evening bookings (which are full in the current space). There is also additional benefit to local residents, as evidenced by the success of the new Community Cafe, as it will make the Centre more financially sustainable long term and increasing employment in the village.
Chairman – The John Clements Sports & Community Trust
Trustees: Mark Knapper, Karry Omer, Tony Putterill, Maxine Broad, Ian Mathieson, Jeff Chapman