Winchester Fit for the Future

Winchester Fit for the Future is a community project run by volunteers, under the auspices of the Winchester Sport Art and Leisure Trust. It brings together local sports clubs and stakeholder organisations in the Winchester area. 

We are working to secure a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Our efforts are focused on developing sustainable and accessible community sports facilities, as poor facilities are the major constraint to improving sports provision locally. Our priority is to secure a new sports and leisure centre to serve the City of Winchester, its surrounding District and broader catchment. 

Over almost five years, we’ve undertaken detailed research and analysis, consulted national governing bodies for sport and local experts, and developed community proposals for a centre that can expand participation in sport, support training, and host competitions and other events. Studio Four Architects have helped us develop site plans and design concepts that reflect these proposals.

Winchester is not well placed to draw on the legacy of London 2012, due to gaps in sports provision and a public leisure facility that’s well past its prime. Many of our community sports clubs lack a base, struggle to access existing facilities, and have long waiting lists as a result.

Watch the BBC South Today report from 2012, which outlines the key challenges we face.

Our research, and that of others, indicates the need for and the long-term viability of several core sports facilities in Winchester, including:

  1. a 50m community pool, with dividing boom(s) and variable depth
  2. a sports arena that can accommodate 3 competition standard netball/basketball courts
  3. a gymnastics and trampolining facility
  4. indoor facilities and spectator seating alongside the athletics track at Bar End

Partnership between local institutions will be needed to deliver these new facilities and ensure they thrive over the long-term. Winchester City Council, local sports clubs, Hampshire County Council, and the University of Winchester are among those who must work together. 

We submitted a petition to Winchester City Council on 7th November 2012. It had 3334 signatures (857 of which were online) and had been endorsed by 14 top athletes or high-profile members of the Winchester community. In 2013, Winchester City Council set out their initial proposals, but these would not meet the needs of our community, now or in the future. We have given feedback on those proposals, evidence to the Council’s Informal Scrutiny Group on the issues, and made statements to various Council committees e.g. to Cabinet in September 2013. 

Please let your local councillors know that we need comprehensive and accessible community sports and leisure facilities to serve the City and its broader District.

You may also wish to contact Tesco (who own the Garrison Ground at Bar End) and your local councillors about the need to protect that area for sport and recreational use. Housebuilders are pursuing it currently. Please feel free to sign the Open Letter to Tesco PLC on this website!  

In addition to our work on facilities, the Winchester Fit for the Future project has worked to secure a sustainable legacy from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in other ways, for example by:

  1. Compiling a Guide to Winchester’s Community Sports Clubs to give local people a taste of what’s on offer locally
  2. Organising free seminars to help Clubs improve their business and management skills

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