Â£450,000 Doncaster town pavilion means farewell to 'eyesore'
It's the latest landmark on the social scene in Bawtry - and it means farewell to a neighbouring eyesore.
Work is now complete on the Â£450,000 sports pavilion in Bawtry after a long running fundraising campaign by residents who set up a community group to improve the area's facilities.
The smart new building, located at the Bawtry Memorial Sports Ground in the town, was finally completed to the point that it could be opened in June, although some work is still on-going.
Now the organisation behind the project, Bawtry Action for Recreation and Sports, says it is being used by residents from babies to 85-year-olds and is hoping it will be the base for a wide variety of activities for the whole community.
BARS was set up to provide recreational and sporting facilities for the residents of Bawtry and had already provided children’s play equipment, a shelter for teenagers and a hard surface multi-use games area at Bawtry’s Wharf Street Recreation Ground, even before it turned its attention to the pavilion project.
BARS trustee Kerry Haslam is currently running the new site on a voluntary basis, with husband Richard, who is chairman of Bawtry Cricket Club, one of its users.
She said: "We've been waiting for a new pavilion for a long time.
"BARS was set up to do what it can to improve recreation and sports facilities in the local area for residents, and we'd already been successful in the facilities that we'd brought in for Wharf Street before we started trying to bring the pavilion to the town.
"There were already clubs down here who wanted something, so we got together and looked at it together. We applied for various bits of funding, including WREN, Sport England, the English Cricket Board and the Football Foundation, and a combination of that and a donation from Bawtry Town Council helped us get where we are today. The town council have been really supportive, and still are."
Work finally started on building the pavilion in October, and the main building was completed by early June.
A formal opening ceremony is planned for the future, when representives of those who helped fund it will be invited.
Kerry, whose two sons will both use the pavilion through the football and cricket teams they play for, expects the building to be well used and is keen for it to appeal to all parts of the community.
She says the clubs which use the site now range from football clubs to baby groups and yoga.
Many of the clubs which use the site will be on a management committee also including BARS and Bawtry Town Council.
She said: "It is a local community venue and we've had Christenings, 40th birthday parties, anniversaries and wedding receptions already, as well as yoga, pilates and baby sensory classes. The idea is to make it a sustainable venue."
There are still minor pieces of work to be done on the building even though it is now up and running, with work on the kitchen and the car park in the pipeline. Bawtry Town Council is helping with the work to complete the car park, which will have gravel put down and and flattened in some areas.
The opening of the new pavilion means the end for the former changing room block, which has been in place for decades and is regarded by many as an eyesore.
But that will involve a bill of an expected Â£10,000 as experts have to be brought in because the structure was built with an asbestos roof which needs to be removed. A grant application is expected to be made to carry out the work.
"The old building has been there for decades, and it was all right," said Kerry. "But the showers were a bit grim and it had nothing like the amount of space that we have now at the pavilion."
"My kids play cricket and football here and they say its a million times better than the old one."
Opening up the new Bawtry Sports Pavilion has not been all plain sailing for the organisers - who suffered from crime almost as soon as it was opened.
Thieves broke into the venue within two weeks of its completion and opening, with items including sweets taken from the premises.
The experience has now led to security being beefed up on the premises with alarms now in place along with closed circuit television cameras.
Eventually, the new Bawtry Sports Pavilion is expected to generate jobs in the community.
There are plans to employ a manager eventually to take over when Kerry and Richard have worked out what the job will involve.
There are also plans to take on bar staff.
With the sports pavlion in place, BARS are now looking at the possibility of extending the activities available on the site.
Among the activities they would like to be able to bring to Bawtry is tennis. They would also like more sports pitches.
BARS trustee Kerry Haslam said: "We would like to have tennis down here. There used to be two grass courts, but they were not maintained. So one of the other things we're looking to do is get funds to have tennis courts down here.
"We understand it is more likely to happen in terms of grants if we have three courts, which is what is needed to have competitions."
"We plan to meet in September to put together a plan. We'd also like work on the car park and extra storage."