Allendale Sports Hall

You’re never quite sure just what facility people are talking about, when you hear the words ‘Sports Hall,’ because they could be meaning the ‘Sports Club Pavilion’ over at the playing fields, or the big ‘Sports Hall’ beside the Primary School. The situation is somewhat complicated because (as I’ve been kindly informed) a couple of members of the Sports Club help to manage the Sports Hall too, as a community service, thereby helping to fulfill the terms of the new build under National Lottery funding. As is the way in these Allen Valleys, individuals often wear separate but distinct hats, and so (although I’ve been confused about this, now delighted to be corrected), the two organisations are separate and distinct entities. This diary entry, anyway, is all about the big Sports Hall used both by the Primary School during the day, and the community when school’s out.

A few years ago I realised just how busy the Sports Hall was when I tried to book a slot because of an inadvertent double booking at the village hall across the road. Virtually every weekday evening is occupied, as the current calendar shows:

  • Mondays are Total Body Burn (aerobics)
  • Tuesdays are Senior Football
  • Wednesdays are Judo (children) and then Badminton (adults)
  • Thursdays are Netball
  • Fridays are Junior Football

Weekends are often available, however; there’s nothing listed for December apart from the 1st when the annual Angus Tait Memorial Hexhamshire Hobble race, organised by the Allen Valley Striders running group, used the facility as a staging post.

Additionally, as Geoff Lee, one of the governors of Allendale Primary School noted on the phone a day or so ago, the Sports Hall is a brilliant facility for the primary students during the school day. He remarked that the Sports Hall is nearing completion of a new, fresh-look website, which may be live within this year. Anyway, apparently Allendale’s Sports Hall is the only such facility west of Prudhoe, in the county school’s pyramid structure, and so it serves much of Tynedale for inter-school physical activities.

There is some consternation at the Parish Council, however, about the county’s responsibility for the educational components of the Sports Hall, as reported at this past Thursday’s PC meeting. With the county struggling to stay solvent, and so many cuts to public services, it’s no wonder that concerns are being raised about the continued and future funding of the Sports Hall’s educational activities. I guess national priorities have a way, finally, of trickling down to local facilities.

Meanwhile, Geoff offers a synopsis of some of the activities in the Sports Hall over the past five years, which formed the background information of the report to the Parish Council:

The indoor sports space provided by the Sports Hall is important for the day to day delivery of the curriculum, which requires a minimum of 2 hours week per child, especially given the climate up here! This brings in the health and fitness topic which of course is major! The Primary School are justifiably proud of providing a broad curriculum while not neglecting academic standards (which will be shown next Friday – 13.12.19 when the National Primary Statistics are published. The school has been awarded the Gold ModeShift Award which recognises initiatives to encourage sustainable travel. Allendale Primary School were named the NE England regional winners and will be at the national awards in January. Other awards include a Green Flag in the Eco-Schools awards, the highest possible. Gold Award in School Games, the Music Mark and will soon be applying for the ArtsMark.

Although based on the Primary School site and managed by the school with the help of a voluntary committee the Sports Hall is for the community. This is a key to our management of the hall. The Primary School is also responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Sports Hall. You will see from Malcolm Archer’s submission to Allendale Parish Council that there are issues with the funding. This dates back to 2013 when the governors reluctantly were persuaded to take over the building despite of our concerns over the financial burden. 

This annual report given to Allendale Parish Council which shows the range of activities which have taken place in the Sports Hall in one year. It does show the value of the Sports Hall to the community. 

Allendale Primary School and Community Sports Hall

Sports Hall Management Committee:

Malcolm Archer – Chair: Community
Valeria Dunn: Allendale Primary School Governors
Philip Vincent: Allendale Primary School staff
Brendan Jackson: Allendale Sports Club
Geoff Lee: Allendale Parish Council

The Sports Hall is available for use by the community from 5.00 pm until 10.00 pm, Monday to Friday and all day at weekends. The hall can also be booked during school holidays. The hall continues to be well used especially between September and May. 

The regular users have been:

  • Aerobics
  • Badminton
  • Cricket
  • Ladies Cricket
  • Judo
  • Junior Badminton
  • Junior Football
  • Hexham Junior Football
  • Junior Tennis
  • Junior Zumba
  • Netball
  • Senior Football
  • Trampoline
  • Volleyball

Additional daytime activities were organised during the October half-term holiday

  • Uni hoc
  • Tri golf
  • Short tennis
  • Cricket
  • Trampoline 

In addition, there have also been bookings for children’s parties as well as for The Allendale Challenge, The Hexhamshire Hobble, Allen Valley Striders and Allen Valley Velo as well as a Junior Tennis Tournament.

Some of these are coaching sessions while others are self-programming.

The hall is used for timetabled PE and Games but additional activities which take place at lunch times and after school have included:

  • Gymnastics
  • Netball
  • Badminton
  • Tennis
  • Multi-Skills — led by Year 6 Sports Leaders
  • All Stars – after school club

The hall has also been used by groups of schools from the local area sometimes as part of inter-school competitions but as to celebrate as with the dance festival.  In addition, the following competitions have taken place: –

  • Football
  • Cross-Country
  • Gymnastics
  • Indoor Athletics

Thanks for that report, Geoff, which I hope helps to reinforce the role of the Sports Hall both in the community and in the daily activities of Allendale Primary School. Geoff was at pains to reinforce that in terms of community use, the Sports Hall is a self-financing facility.

As we’ve considered in the diary over this year, this patch is particularly blessed with a great variety of physical activities on offer to interested folks. Although these days I seem to get all the exercise I need just tending to the garden duties, the odd DIY effort, and fixing up the Elf Hole, it’s good to know these offerings are available, keeping active folks healthy. Long may it be so!

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