The Guernsey Sports Commission has been working hard with a number of sports organisations over the past week or so to ensure they have been able to secure alternative venues following the news that the Sir John Loveridge Sports Hall at Beau Sejour would be out of action for around six months whilst being used as the Island’s community vaccination centre.
Following on from today’s public briefing, the Sports Commission is pleased to report that most sports have been successfully relocated.
‘I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to those who look after our school sports facilities and also those organisations who own and manage private sports and community facilities for their willingness to go the extra mile to help out,’ said the Commission’s Operation’s Director, Graham Chester.
‘The team at Beau Sejour have also gone above and beyond in contacting those whose bookings have been affected and pointing them in the right direction with regards to alternatives. Although it has been impossible to replace like for like, we are thankful that those sports affected have been pragmatic about the situation and prepared to adapt their operations to suit the new venues and timings available,’ said Graham.
‘All of us accept the need for the vaccination centre and in the true spirit of Guernsey Together we have been working hard to ensure everyone is catered for.’
Whilst most are now sorted, there are still a few sports bookings still to be finalised, including competition venues for two sports taking part the Specsavers Youth Games in May.
Guernsey Mobility Let’s Go (GMLG) run a weekly accessible sports session in the Sir John Loveridge Hall and initially struggled to find a suitable alternative venue which allowed the club’s many wheelchair users to easily get to.
‘We have now agreed a contract with St Martin's Parish Hall to hire it for five months with an option to extend for the rest of 2021 if it works,’ said Paul Wheatley, Activity Coach for GMLG.
‘It was the only place we could find to fit our requirements and timing. Most other facilities are fully booked mid-morning to mid-afternoon from our phone calls when researching.
‘The hall is much smaller than we require for our group plus the school pupils who come along to help, but it has all the access required, parking and disabled toilets etc.
‘We will have to take in sports bags of equipment, which we will store at home and take each week, which is also not ideal. We have also moved our session from a Tuesday to a Monday which has somehow worked for all concerned,’ said Paul.
GMLG has also had to reduce the number of activity stations running at any one time and also plan different ways of rotating the support the children provide to the group.
Basketball and volleyball are also heavy users of the Sir John Loveridge Hall hiring out multiple courts to provide regular training sessions and games nights.
‘It has been a really tough challenge trying to relocate basketball games, training and our Future Stars programme from Beau-Sejour to both St Sampson’s High and Les Beaucamps High,’ said Peter Beausire from Guernsey Basketball.
‘We have had numerous meetings with the Sports Commission and the high schools, and we are starting to be prepared for the 2021 season.
‘Unfortunately, some teams and children will miss out on the opportunity to play basketball due to there not being sufficient time allocated but we will adapt the best we can,’ said Peter.
Basketball have paid tribute to the support and help provided by the facilities team at St Sampson’s High.
‘Jason Alderton at St Sampson’s High has been so helpful through the whole process in helping us know our time allocations which has really helped us plan.’
A number of schools also use the Sir John Loveridge Hall for regular PE sessions as their on-site sports facilities are limited.
‘We have been successfully piloting a voucher system with Vauvert, Notre Dame, Amherst and La Mare de Carteret High school allowing them to use the Beau Sejour sports facilities during the day to ensure they are able to have a positive experience of PE,’ said Steve Sharman, the Commission’s Relationship Director.
‘We still have concerns that some children may miss out on a full PE experience but wherever possible we have sourced alternative venues such as the Elizabeth College Sports Hall and some private venues such as the Guernsey Table Tennis Centre and Rohais Badminton Hall to allow those schools with limited sports facilities to still play sport.’
The Sports Commission is continuing to gather information on the additional cost and disruption to those sports affected by the closure of the Sir John Loveridge Hall and will do everything possible to source additional funding and provide further support where necessary.
See a Media Release jointly issued by the States of Guernsey and GSC here