Refurbishment for Newark Hockey Club pitches at Magnus Church of England Academy will benefit wider community

One of the biggest sports clubs will thrive for the next 15 years after plans to refurbish its pitches were supported by Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Newark Hockey Club, which operates from the artificial grass pitches at the Magnus Church of England Academy, is to benefit from upgraded, fit-for-purpose facilities.

The plans, unanimously supported by the policy and finance committee, will see the council finance and operate the pitches through its provider Active4Today for a period of 15 years.

TIM BURCH with players Ann Crockett-McLean, Jacky Nullis, Tracy Rimmington and junior member Zara.

Tim Burch, chairman of Newark Hockey Club, said the council’s support was essential to the club.

“The club wouldn’t be able to train or play anywhere if not,” he said.

“By replacing the pitches at the Magnus, it keeps the club alive and allows us to look ahead for the next 15 to 20 years and have a hockey club not only for Newark, but for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

“We are one of the oldest sporting clubs in the town and because of the numbers that we attract from outside of the town and local schools, it allows us to offer benefits outside of a sporting context too.”

CHAIRMAN of Newark Hockey Club Tim Burch and players from the ladies' section at the Magnus ground.
CHAIRMAN of Newark Hockey Club Tim Burch and players from the ladies’ section at the Magnus ground.

The terms of management will be set in a community use agreement and additional grant funding opportunities on behalf of the club will be explored by the council.

This will see the council work with Newark Hockey Club to bid for grant funding towards buying new goals and dug outs through the Nottinghamshire County Council local communities scheme.

The committee heard the plans would see an initial estimated annual shortfall in income of £ 1,800.

ALEX DAVIS scores for Newark at the Magnus, which is set for development.
ALEX DAVIS scores for Newark at the Magnus, which is set for development.

Andy Hardy, community projects manager at the district council, said: “A number of members may recall this was discussed, debated and approved as a project that would support a loan approach for the Magnus Academy to replace their facility in January 2020.

“Though, through no fault of the council, proposals couldn’t move forward so the council had to revisit the proposal and come up with an alternative solution.”

David Lloyd, leader of the council, said the plans demonstrated a model that would enable other things across the district.

He said: “It’s called Newark Hockey Club and I know that is because of its location, but the club is not just for Newark and Sherwood, it may as well be called East Midlands Hockey Club because it reaches far into Lincolnshire and the rest. “

Mr Lloyd said the condition of the pitches were not ideal for users and immediate action was needed.

“I too, like you, wish we could have got it over the line so there is no £ 1,800 revenue shortfall per annum, but time was running neigh on the pitch,” Mr Lloyd told the committee.

Committee member Paul Peacock said: “Some of you may know I have been involved in a number of sports clubs over the years and I have raised a substantial amount of money.

“I am fully supportive of new facilities and I understand the need for improved sport infrastructure.

“I have a bit of experience in finding funding.

“With Newark Hockey Club being a big club and well-run club, the first question I have is why hasn’t somebody been able to make a case with the sporting body?

“The second point is can we roll this out to get better sports facilities using this type of model elsewhere?

“In this case, it is a great thing for the district council to do, to use its levers to create a project which feels like a win-win for everybody.”

The new pitches will also serve as football training pitches for the community during the winter, while ensuring hockey continues to be played in the town.


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