By REoA Newsdesk –
The Deighton Sports Arena, nestled in the heart of Ashbrow Ward, has undergone a transformative shift in the past 10 months.
From being closed down as part of cost-saving measures last Winter, to an eventual reopening with a much-diminished timetable.
It is fair to say residents are fighting hard to preserve their centre for the foreseeable future.
On the 14th of September 2023, 6 pm – 7 pm, the Ashbrow Community will come together for a vital meeting over the Arena – a meeting that has the potential to redefine its role and significance in the community.
If this beloved sports facility transitions into the capable hands of the Ashbrow community, a host of potentially exciting changes and opportunities emerge.
In this article, we will explore ten remarkable benefits of the Deighton Sports Arena coming under community control.
From preserving the cherished community space to fostering economic growth, promoting health and well-being, and nurturing the potential of youth, this transition could bring about a profound positive impact that extends far beyond the familiar walls of the Arena.
Here are ten benefits as to why the Deighton Sports Arena should come under the control of the community.
1. Community Ownership
By keeping the arena within the Ashbrow community, residents have direct control and decision-making power over its future, ensuring it serves their interests and needs.
The transfer of Deighton Sports Arena to community control would herald a new era of local empowerment.
With the facility owned and managed by the community, residents would be able to have a say in its operations and can tailor its offerings to meet the specific needs and wants of the community.
2. Preserving Community Space
The arena serves as a vital gathering place for community members of all ages, providing opportunities for social interactions, sports, and recreation.
A transition to community ownership would ensure that this vital communal space remains accessible to all.
It safeguards a place for neighbours to gather, play sports, and socialise, maintaining a sense of unity and belonging.
3. Local Economic Impact
The arena contributes to the local economy by attracting visitors, hosting events, and supporting local businesses such as food vendors, sports retailers, and service providers.
The Arena’s very presence can help generate revenue for the local economy. Events, tournaments, and programs attract visitors, bolstering nearby businesses and creating job opportunities, which is a win-win for the community.
The Deighton Carnival is one such example. Taking place every summer on the fields outside the centre, the carnival is one of the Ashbrow Ward’s biggest events of the year, attracting thousands of visitors and helping to boost not only the local economy but the positive nature of the ward itself.
The Deighton Carnival is run for the community, by the community.
4. Health and Well-being
The arena offers accessible facilities for physical activities, promoting a healthier lifestyle and supporting the well-being of community members.
As a hub for physical activity, the continued running of the Arena promotes health and well-being in the community.
It encourages residents of all ages to lead active lives, contributing to reduced healthcare costs and an overall healthier populace.
5. Youth Development
The Deighton Sports Arena can provide a safe and inclusive environment for youth engagement, fostering teamwork, discipline, and leadership skills through sports and community programs.
Community control opens doors for youth development initiatives. Sports programs, mentoring, and skill-building activities empower the next generation, steering them towards positive life choices
Many local sports organisations would benefit from open access to the Arena, such as the Youth Player Development Academy, a local grassroots organisation that works to deliver a unique, high-quality, fun and structured program that is transformative for young people.
Before we look at the next five benefits, please take a moment to respond to our poll on whether or not the Deighton Sports Arena should come under the control of the community.
6. Social Cohesion
The arena acts as a unifying force, bringing people from diverse backgrounds together, strengthening family and community bonds, and promoting inclusivity.
The Arena strengthens social bonds by hosting events and gatherings that foster connections among diverse groups. The space has often become a focal point for community celebrations, reinforcing solidarity and positivity.
7. Educational Opportunities
The arena can serve as an educational hub, offering workshops, training programs, and mentorship opportunities to empower community members with valuable skills and knowledge.
Under community ownership, the Deighton Sports Arena could potentially move way beyond just the singular purpose of sports. The arena could host workshops, training, and educational events, providing a space for lifelong learning, skill acquisition, and transformational growth.
8. Job Creation
A community-run arena can generate employment opportunities, both directly within the facility and indirectly through partnerships and collaborations with local businesses.
Local control means more job opportunities for residents. From facility management to event coordination, the Arena generates employment options for community members, reducing unemployment rates.
9. Sustainability and Environmental Impact
The community can prioritise sustainable practices, such as energy-efficient operations, waste reduction, and promoting eco-friendly initiatives, contributing to a greener and more environmentally conscious community.
Brand new initiatives can be developed, that highlight and share the positive outcomes of eco-friendly practices, making the Arena more sustainable and increasing its longevity as a community space even further.
10. Long-term Community Investment
Finally, community control ensures the Arena’s longevity. It becomes a lasting asset, continually evolving to meet changing community needs, securing a brighter future for all.
By retaining ownership and control, the community can ensure that any profits or revenue generated by the arena are reinvested back into community programs, infrastructure, and initiatives that benefit all residents.
In summary, the Deighton Sports Arena’s transition to community control would offer a plethora of benefits. From empowerment and economic growth to improved health and youth development, the Arena would become a cornerstone of community life, fostering social cohesion and sustainability while providing long-term value and opportunities for all.
Remember, the Ashbrow community is coming together on the 14th of September 2023, 6 pm – 7 pm, to discuss asset transfer and possible opportunities for community organisations.
If you are interested in the future of the Deighton Sports Arena and want to know more about how the community could take over this space, please come along and meet your fellow community members, local ward councillors and Kirklees Council officers.