Future of popular sports centre secured after villagers step in

A community group from Coddenham has taken over the new sports centre. Picture: JAMIE NIBLOCK

A community group from Coddenham has taken over the new sports centre. Picture: JAMIE NIBLOCK - Credit: star

Suffolk villagers have fulfilled a long-standing commitment to turn a modern sports centre into a registered charity – thanks to the efforts of hard-working neighbours.

The Coddenham Centre, a modern community and sports facility, was previously owned by the parish council - but was always intended to become a charity. Now, villagers have finally managed to turn that dream into a reality.

The takeover comes hot on the heels of a successful reopening of Coddenham village shop, which threw open its doors again earlier this year after community volunteers took the reins.

The idea behind the sports centre's new-found charity status is to ensure it continues to serve its community, while being sustainable for the future.

"Setting up a dedicated charitable organisation for the Coddenham Centre is an important step in ensuring a sustainable future and the optimum use of a wonderful facility, serving the local community and east of England," chairman Andrew MacPherson explained.

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Villagers and the Coddenham Centre team, which is made up of volunteers, have been working with Community Action Suffolk to survey 1,000 households on kind of events the community want to see there.

One of the events planned for the new year will be a 'Nordic Walking Program' to get the village moving.

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However, the team at Coddenham Centre are keen to make sure the centre fills out both its roles as a sports centre and a community hall.

The centre has already put on some popular community-focused events including a workshop on Charles Darwin's 'Origin of Species' - as well as a children's Christmas party earlier this month.

It features all manner of sports equipment, catering for adults and children alike, alongside tennis courts, football fields, children's play equipment and outside gym that can be used for free.

A community group from Coddenham took over their local shop in September, five months after it initially closed due to lack of business.

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