It’s the latest landmark on the social scene in Bawtry – and it means a welcome farewell to a neighbouring eyesore.
Work is now complete on the £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, opened in June, although some work is still continuing.
The organisation behind the project – Bawtry Action for Recreation and Sports or BARS – says it is being used by a whole range of local residents from babies to 85-year-olds and hopes 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 before it turned its attention to the pavilion project.
BARS trustee Kerry Haslam is running the new site voluntarily, 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 could 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 clubs down here who wanted something, so we got 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 has been really supportive – and still is.”
Work started on building the pavilion in October.
A formal opening ceremony is planned and representatives of groups who helped fund the project will be invited.
Kerry, whose two sons both use the pavilion through the football and cricket teams they play for, expects the building to be well used and she is keen for it to appeal to all sections of the community.
She said those who use the facilities range from football clubs to baby groups and yoga.
Many of the clubs will be on a management committee along with BARS and Bawtry Town Council.
Kerry 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 bits 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 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 around £10,000 because asbestos experts will be needed to remove the roof.
“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 it’s a million times better than the old one.”