Photo Credit: Rhys Albrecht
Over the past few years Southport & Birkdale Squash Club has taken a number of steps to improve the squash playing facilities and the deal the players get from the Club.
This has meant that, not only have playing conditions been improved, but we now play unlimited squash for just £16.25 per month.
Introducing light meter override keys and the online court booking system now means that we don’t have to rely on the Club being open to book courts or pay for court lights and, with our state-of-the-art court heaters providing a comfortable playing experience in the coldest of winter weather, we now have the two best courts in the area.
Consequently, our playing membership has grown substantially, putting additional pressure on primetime court availability.
Our success in attracting new members and improving the facilities has been recognised by the sport’s governing body “England Squash & Racketball” (ESR), who approached us earlier in 2014 with the suggestion that, if we were to build a third court with a glass back and spectator seating, we could become a “Centre of Excellence” for squash in the Southport / West Lancashire area.
To provide the money for the new court an application was made to the Sport England “Inspired Facilities” (Inspired Facilities is a fund for medium sized sporting projects financed by money from the 2012 London Oplympics). The application was submitted in June with a decision to be announced by September 2014. Meanwhile, a sub-committee of squash players worked on a planning application to the local authority, which was approved in August.
In September, Sport England advised that our application had been successful and that we had been awarded the full amount that we bid for. This was extremely good news for Southport & Birkdale Sports Club and will provide the Club and the town with a first class sporting facility.
There are however a couple of hurdles that will have to be overcome before we can start the building of this new court. The funding offer is made on the understanding that our present Club constitution has the dissolution clause amended to remove the right to distribute residual funds (following a dissolution) to members. To comply with Sport England’s rules such funds must be given to other like sporting clubs / organisations in the area. The development itself also requires member approval and both of these crucial votes will be put to the Club’s AGM, which has been brought forward to Monday January 19th 2015, to give time to start the build by the deadline imposed by Sport England. Once given the go ahead the new court should be ready for play well before the start of next season.
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