'Future looks good' for Weymouth sports centre saved from closure
Posted: Thu, 15 Dec 2022 09:28
Taken from the Dorset Echo:
Redlands, in Dorchester Road, Weymouth, has gone from strength to strength since it was it was taken over by Active Dorset following a public fight to keep it open.
Charitable organisation Active Dorset took on the operational running of Redlands Community Sports Hub on December 8 following a public fight to keep it open.
Under the new name of Redlands Leisure and Community Park, Active Dorset says it is 'already seeing positive signs of more users' since taking over the site.
The charity says future investments will focus on updates to the sports halls, development of the outdoor community facilities including football areas, a new indoor soft play area and community cafe.
In June 2021, Weymouth College, which had been operating Redlands Community Sports Hub under a lease arrangement with Dorset Council since 2008, announced it was seeking new tenants to take over its management.
With its closure seeming likely - despite a community petition set up - in January of this year it was revealed that Redlands could be turned into new housing.
But in July there appeared new hope that the site would be saved by Active Dorset, which showed interest in taking over the indoor and outdoor facilities.
The charity has set up a Facebook page aimed at reaching more people who will benefit from the sporting facilities.
Redlands was never formally closed but went through a 'period of mass uncertainty', said Dan Hunt, Active Dorset's marketing and communications manager.
He added the new provider is keen on developing Redlands into 'a better community space' and encourages more people to take up activities there.
"We are very passionate about going about it in the right way to make it somewhere that is the centre of the community," Dan added.
"Over the last how ever many years it has not had much love and has almost been forgotten about, and we are very keen on changing that."
Dorset Council ward councillor Howard Legg (Lib Dem, Upwey and Broadwey) said 'the future looks good' for Redlands.
"The good thing is that it is done, the management is secure," he said.
"This should give residents more assurance to use the facilities. If they don't get used then we will lose them.
"But they now have the confidence that management has been set up and the future looks good."
Redlands said on social media that it was looking to make the building 'thrive' as it aimed to increase its user numbers.
"We are really excited to be taking on the operational running of Redlands and wanted to say thank you for the support we have received from so many who have campaigned to keep this facility open to the community," it added.
"We are already seeing positive signs of more users, which is so key to making Redlands thrive and in order to increase the Redlands community further, we need your help to reach more people who will benefit from using the facilities."
Visit www.facebook.com/RedlandsCommunityPark for more information.