This is the week the public get a chance to comment on plans for a new architect-designed East Stand for Bath Rugby down at the Rec – and there’s news of a few proposed ‘extras’ that will open up this facility for a lot of other activities too.
Read on to hear about the new appointment of a Sport’s Officer to spearhead a ‘cohesive approach to sport, health and wellbeing in Bath.’
The new stand willl incorporate facilities for a ‘sport focused campus’ for primary school children and there’s more – ‘the provision of a hybrid or artificial pitch with public access facilities, which will not only provide the best possible playing surface for elite sport, but which will also support on-going use outside of matchdays which is not possible with the existing playing surface.’
Stadium for Bath, the project that brings together Bath Rugby, Bath Rugby Foundation and Arena 1865 could provide a sporting and social legacy for the city focused on participation, well-being, learning and development. This social legacy hub will be based in the stadium’s community focused East Stand.
Its overall community-focused agenda will be to drive active involvement in grassroots sport and to address specific social needs in the city directly by way of targeted education opportunities for young adults, and indirectly by supporting charitable organisations operating in Bath. The project will focus particularly on children and young people, with an additional emphasis on promoting women’s sport.
A new ‘Sport’s Officer’ role will be created to ensure the delivery of a cohesive approach to sport, health and wellbeing in Bath, with the objective of driving an increased level of participation in grassroots sports making use of the stadium facilities. This new role will work with B&NES in terms of aligning objectives around sporting participation, obesity, health and well-being.
Early indications show that the new stadium could also become an additional ‘sport focused campus’ accessible for all primary schools in Bath and North East Somerset. As part of its ambition to inspire the next generations to take up grassroots sport, Stadium for Bath will promote the use of its facilities to all primary schools within the area as a venue to host their annual sports days. In addition, it hopes to create learning experiences through unique access and insight into the world of professional sport to promote a legacy of life-long sporting participation, and engagement in personal wellbeing and nutrition.
These sporting objectives will be supported by the provision of a hybrid or artificial pitch with public access facilities, which will not only provide the best possible playing surface for elite sport, but which will also support on-going use outside of matchdays which is not possible with the existing playing surface.
Stadium for Bath will also look to deliver several apprenticeships and up to 200 vocational academic qualifications annually, primarily focused on BTECs. The redevelopment will be a catalyst for accelerating the impact of the important work already being carried out by Bath Rugby Foundation. Up to 200 young people will be supported and enrolled into what will be the charity’s ‘Development Academy’.
An education suite will provide classroom space with supporting facilities to allow for lessons and mentoring to take place including the use of outside sports space for students who may struggle to focus through extended classroom periods. The principle user will be Bath Rugby Foundation to deliver BTEC classes at levels 1, 2 and 3. In addition, a minimum of five apprenticeship roles are being targeted annually in the various commercial and operational activities at the site.
It is also intended that office and classroom space located in the community focused East Stand will be available for use by charitable organisations in Bath. The provision of a unique space would allow for face-to-face, cross-charity collaborative working which often currently happens ‘online’ due to lack of free and available space. The opportunity for dedicated workspace will also be explored. The creation of this community hub could help enhance the impact of local charitable organisations.
All of the above will look to be provided as part of the Stadium for Bath project. This is in addition to the rent which Bath Rugby currently pay to not-for-profit charity, Bath Recreation Ltd for use of the land at the Rec. All rent received from Bath Rugby is invested by Bath Recreation Ltd in sport and recreational activity in Bath and the surrounding communities.
Tarquin McDonald, Chief Executive, Bath Rugby commented
“We feel a great sense of opportunity and also responsibility with this project. Opportunity and responsibility in terms of stadium design and riverside regeneration, but also in terms of the significant contribution we can make to the community through the long term social legacy this project can create.
“We believe in the power of elite sport to inspire and instil a sense of pride. We also recognise the unique opportunity we have to use sport every day, to promote sporting participation and active engagement with people from all corners of the city to promote physical and mental wellbeing, promote social cohesion and to support our communities.
“This is a unique moment in time. Stadium for Bath could be transformative not only by providing an exceptional place and riverside that we can all enjoy, but by driving real change in the heart of the city.
“We hope that you will support this project, and everything that it can bring to the city.”
Lynne Fernquest, Chief Executive, Bath Rugby Foundation commented:
“Bath Rugby Foundation uses the values of sport to change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people and over the last 15 years we are proud to have helped thousands of youngsters in B&NES discover and reach their full potential.
“We already work in schools, in the community and in our own classroom, but Stadium for Bath will provide us with the purpose-built space to connect and collaborate with other like-minded charities for the benefit of the increasing number of children and young people who need us.
“By supporting this project with its many benefits you’ll also be pledging to protect our most precious resource – the next generation.”
Stadium for Bath is urging the public to get behind the project:
Stadium for Bath’s public consultation will be held in the Ricoh Suite, in the South Stand of Bath’s current stadium at the Rec, from 12pm to 7pm on Wednesday 25thand Thursday 26thJuly, 10am to 5pm on Friday 27thJuly and 10am to 4pm on Saturday 28thJuly.
At the event there will be the opportunity to speak with members of the project team, ask questions and give feedback on the initial emerging design concepts.
For those who are unable to attend the event, all of the information will also be available via www.stadiumforbath.com along with an online feedback form.