Plans are in the pipeline for a £500,000 community facility in Brightons which would also provide a new purpose-built base for the historic Westquarter and Redding Cricket Club.
It is hoped the centre, to be called ‘Bailliefields Community Hub’ could be open by 2021 if funding and planning permission is secured.
It will be run by Westquarter and Redding Cricket Club, which became a Community Interest Company (CIC) last year in a bid to provide more services to the local community.
This followed a move in 2015 by committee members to secure a 25-year income for the club by opening a children’s nursery on site in partnership with Glenbervie Kindergarden.
Various local groups and charities already use the existing premises but now the five CIC directors, Stephen and Helen Sutton, Umar Aslam, George McLauchlan and Paddy O’Growney want to go a step further by creating a ‘pioneering’ new community model which other clubs can follow.
Stephen Sutton, who has been a member of Westquarter and Redding Cricket Club for the last 36 years, said: “The idea came about as a result of us realising that we need to build new changing rooms as they are no longer fit for purpose due to having almost 200 members, many of them female.
“We decided therefore that rather than just build a new facility we should take the opportunity to build a new club house which can be used by the whole community as we are in the fortunate position of owning our own land which is just over eight acres.
“We heard about a similar project at Broxburn United Sports Club (BUSC) so we went along there to get some ideas.”
Club members recently held a launch for the proposed new Bailliefields Hub which was attended by representatives from various organisations including SportScotland, Cricket Scotland, Alzheimer Scotland as well as local councillor Gordon Hughes and Polmont, Brightons, Reddingmuirhead and Maddiston Community Councils.
Angus MacDonald MSP also wrote a letter pledging his support.
“The day was a huge success and proved there is already a great deal of backing for this project on a local level,” Stephen said.
”Following the launch we have arranged a series of presentations to the local community councils to enable us to reach out to people who live locally and let them know what we are planning and seek their views on what they feel the community needs.”
Stephen said he and his fellow club directors will be spending the next few months putting together a business case for the project, estimated to cost around £500,000.
They will then apply for funding from SportScotland, Robertson Trust and the Big Lottery before seeking planning permission from Falkirk Council.
“All being well we are hopeful building could start in September 2020 with a view to the new Bailliefields Community Hub being ready to open its doors by 2021,” Stephen said.
Plans may still be at a relatively early stage but the project is already causing a great deal of excitement.
“There’s definitely a lot of enthusiasm for the new hub among club members, our volunteers and the local community and Glenbervie Kindergarden owners have also pledged their support,” Stephen said.
“We’ve had some brilliant artist impressions drawn up by architectural technician James Moles and we’ve also received excellent advice from sports marketing expert, Svend Elkjaer.
Stephen added that the club hopes to build on its existing work with community partners and charities.
“We recently held a session with Alzheimers Scotland which was a great success and are planning a number of further events,” he said.
“We also want to continue our work with our juniors and encourage more girls to get into cricket. Additionally we want to ensure our facilities are inclusive for all so people with disabilities can also enjoy the benefits of the hub. We are looking into the option of incorporating a Changing Places facility in the new building.
“Ultimately we want to deliver a hub that the whole community can enjoy and feel proud of.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about the project is invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.