19 July 2012News of the £150,000 funding boost was revealed today [18 July], completing the money needed for the new facility in Saltford which is part of a joint project with Avon County Rowing Club and Monkton Combe School in Bath.
The existing boathouses are over 100-years-old and falling into a state of disrepair. It’s hoped the new facilities will help to put Bristol among the top three universities at rowing within the next three years, helping to develop both novices and future international competitors in the sport.
Olympic medallist Natasha Danvers and Sport England are revealing the 17 community sports projects in the West of England that have secured Olympic legacy funding today. It’s part of Sport England’s programme to deliver a London 2012 legacy of increased mass participation in sport.
The University of Bristol secured the £150,000 in a joint bid with the other two partners as part of a major fundraising programme to transform the site, which already has planning permission. Monkton Combe School has committed £400,000 and Avon County Rowing Club has pledged £200,000.
The University of Bristol will also contribute £400,000 to the project, with over £300,000 having already been received in donations from University of Bristol Boat Club Alumni, friends of the University and, in particular, from The John Rutley Sports Fund.
Work will begin on site later this year with building set to take between six to nine months.
Simon Hinks, Director of Sport at Bristol University said: “The current boathouses are no longer fit for purpose so this funding from Sport England has been instrumental in ensuring our plans for these new and exciting facilities can finally be realised. It’s a lovely stretch of water and people who love the sport are now going to have the facilities to match.
“We hope that participation will increase as a result, enabling us to not only cultivate interest from novices but also to realise the potential of our students who have the potential to compete at national and international level.”
The University of Bristol Boat Club (UBBC) currently has around 100 members, many of whom compete in major races every year. It’s hoped membership will increase by 10 per cent thanks to the new facilities.
Former international rower Gordon Trevett, who is Director of Rowing at Bristol University, said: “The future of rowing at the university is now secure. It’s a great boost not only for our students but for the wider community, who will also have use of the facilities.
“We’re already working closely with Monkton Combe School and Avon County Rowing Club to organise regional camps and to provide coaching facilities to local schools, so this is a huge boost for these types of activities too.”
The project comprises two new boathouses at The Swallows in Saltford, with storage for all three partners. The Sport England funding will go towards the shared facilities, which span 346 sq metres.
The shared amenities will include changing rooms, a gymnasium, a clubhouse area, gallery, kitchen, office and meeting room.