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Hethersett and The Meltons Sports Association

Report March 2011

The inaugural meeting of Hethersett and the Meltons Sports Association (HaMSA) was held at Park Farm Hotel on February 28th, 2011, and was attended by 26 people representing sport, fitness and environmental issues. Some of those present were fitness experts working within the sports field. 

At the end of the meeting I asked for feedback and would like to thank all those who have sent me comments which form the basis of this report which I hope will outline a path for the way forward for the association. 

The comments I have received are very positive and it is this positivity I would like to see taken forward into the future. One of the most interesting points from the meeting was a willingness for clubs to share and work together for improved facilities and a number of suggestions have already been made. 

A small group from HaMSA will be meeting before the next full meeting to come up with a proposed constitution which I am hoping to have with you in time for the next get-together which will be at Hethersett Social Club on Monday May 9th at 7.30 p.m. 

In the report below I have left many of the comments unattributable in order to give a better and more thematic feel to them. Where relevant, however, I have attached names to comments. 

General View of the Meeting 

Comments on the meeting overall were positive and showed a great willingness amongst clubs and individuals to work together to 

1/ Improve facilities

2/ Promote sport and fitness in Hethersett and the Meltons

3/ Organise an entry into the South Norfolk Village Sports 

 

Comments received about the meeting itself included the following: 

I thought the meeting was well attended and most people made positive comments & contributions. I feel a little more confident about the future of sport in our village. 

I thought last night's meeting was useful and effective, and good to see almost everyone having something to contribute. 

Last night’s meeting worked out exactly how I had hoped – thank you for inviting me.  

A well run and attended meeting. 

I can definitely see a need and a future for the proposed association 

I thought it was a good exchange of views and lots of positives which can be consolidated next meeting. 

Quite a good meeting, plenty of exchange of information and it seemed to bowl along OK. Quite a wide spread of interests and I’m not quite sure how all the clubs could integrate, but I do think that there is potential for all the clubs using the Memorial Park to possibly work together. To this end as I stated an annual open day, possibly in April could be advantageous in spreading the word for sport. Anyway well done in initiating the project and I look forward to the next session. 

I thought the meeting was well attended and most people made positive comments & contributions. I feel a little more confident about the future of sport in our village. 

 

Facilities 

One of the primary aims of the association over the next months and (hopefully) years is to look at improving facilities. This could pose to be a stumbling block as I am aware that facilities amongst the sports clubs represented range from the extremely good to the inadequate, but it is important that as supporters of sport and fitness we take a holistic approach to this subject. 

Some of the early suggestions have included 

Use and refurbishment of tennis courts at back of village hall

Shared facilities

Improved skateboarding facilities

A floodlit multi-sport facility on a couple of sites

There was also a suggestion that Hethersett High School is looking for grants to improve its sporting facilities and this could be an area to be explored. To this end we will extend a further invitation to the high school for representation at our next meeting. 

Our District Councillor David Bills came up with the following after talking with chairman of Crusaders Rugby Club Nick Kingsley: 

“I have been talking with Nick Kingsley Chairman of the Crusaders Rugby Club Little Melton about suitable grounds for all weather 3G grounds. He is keen to put forward the site at the Rugby club as he feels that the facilities already there, lighting changing rooms toilets etc. would be beneficial to users of such a facility. They own the land and as he says there would be no problem with planning permission. As such would you take this as official offer which he would like considered.

The club wants to promote closer relations with Hethersett and they see this as a way. I have subsequently received a further e-mail from Nick – again offering facilities - and I will place this on the agenda for our next meeting.

In addition Hethersett Junior School PTA is currently raising funds for an all weather facility at the school and we could look into the possibility of this becoming a community resource.

 

Other comments regarding facilities included the following:

I think the possibility of a floodlight multi-sport facility on a couple of sites worthy of further investigation? 

 

Setting Up of New Groups 

There seems to be a willingness, particularly amongst the environmental lobby to set up new social fitness groups and I would see this as an important addition to the work of the association. 

Gary Wyatt, who is a leading member of Hethersett Environmental Action Team (HEAT), and also a parish councillor had the following to say: 

On a personal note, I would also like to promote individual sporting/fitness activities such as cycling, running and walking. These can help enormously with fitness at minimal cost (e.g. a pair of walking boots or running shoes), with no structure or organisation needed, and without the expense of facilities such as pitches and sports halls, or expensive gym memberships. If anyone has reservations about doing these activities alone then cycling or walking groups could be formed; such groups do exist already on an informal basis. 

I have also received a request to look into the possibility of setting up  “walking buses” whereby school children meet at a specific place and are accompanied by volunteers to school on foot. 

As petrol prices increase I believe our association can play a vital part in encouraging people to walk within the village rather than using vehicles (see also below). 

 

Environmental Impact 

One of the primary aims of the association is to improve and enhance the environment by working together with HEAT and also encouraging the public to walk instead of using vehicles. We should also look to set up social walking/jogging/running/cycling groups. 

Gary Wyatt explained the raison d’etre of HEAT: 

HEAT is a long-standing committee of the parish council which aims to make the village 'cleaner and greener' around three themes: The village environment, Use of resources and Nature & Wildlife. We organise open gardens, litter picks, planting, village walks, bird and hedgehog boxes, and also promote energy conservation measures. We publish a 'green' newsletter and hold public information days. More information can be found at: www.greenhethersett.org.uk. As part of these activities, we obviously encourage fitness and the 'outdoor life', and to this end we have published a series of walking routes in our regular newsletter distributed to all households in Hethersett. We also encourage cycling and walking in general, not just as a recreational activity, in order to reduce traffic problems in the village, especially in connection with the 'school run'. Thus we are keen to see that the new association is successful, especially if it helps to promote the aims of HEAT, and we would like to be represented. 

 

Improved Recognition 

Two major aims of the association over the remainder of 2011 will be: 

To promote itself and its ideals and

To make its aims known to as wide an audience as possible.

 

There are a number of ways this can be achieved 

A major section on the existing Hethersett Web site at www.hethersett.org.uk

A separate and dedicated web site

Improved coverage in the Media for individual groups and the association

Through promotional Material including posters, pamphlets and a sports/fitness directory.

Comments made regarding publicity/recognition included the following from Peter Hoult which also touched on the subject of funding. 

I think it is important to get a decent colour brochure/pamphlet with all info on it ready and out for the village games. I am sure local businessmen  involved in sports will bear the cost of production and printing (distribution I think should be done in a co-ordinated way by the club members themselves). A selection of appropriate business adverts dotted about should bring in £500 or more. Fund raising, whilst raising awareness is not going to achieve much else. We could extend our invitation to meetings to include fitness clubs. We could also design HaMSA car window stickers, flags, quick cheap flyers etc plus a decent logo. 

We need a levy from all clubs to produce a small publication - hopefully an eyecatching colour one sent out to all residents yearly 

 

Representation at Next Meeting 

Some of the comments received on this included: 

It might be an idea to invite the girl and boy sports prefects from Hethersett High School to the next meeting in the absence of teaching staff so that we have "youth involvement?" – (Note I have invited the Head Girl from Hethersett High School to our next meeting). 

I suspect your attendees may well be cut in half by next meeting so perhaps it would be prudent to approach the individuals/organisations/facilities who were not there last night. 

 

Professional Practitioners 

A number of professional practitioners attended the meeting. Sports physio Colin McDermott sent in the following comments – offering his service to members of the Association: 

As I said before, without my treating a wide and varied range of people I won’t be able to build on my knowledge, add to my skills and extend myself and so I’m prepared to work with either individuals, various coaches or clubs in an attempt to treat those with sporting injuries, offer some sort of structured recovery programme and encouragement (to maintain a person’s fitness and skill) and vacillate their return to the pitch or race track. Perhaps install in those concerned the critical importance of returning to their chosen activity in an incremental, orderly fashion - only when the healing/repair has properly occurred (although the football coaches already do this but young footballers don’t always listen). Plus (depending on the activity) to encourage the wisdom of warming up and stretching in order to help prevent injuries and enable the participant to gain the most from the match or race and indeed a warm down after the activity. I’ve already met too many footballer players who (already in their youth) regularly incur muscle damage or their muscles are much too tense leaving them vulnerable to ruptures. Or sadly are already carrying long term chronic damage in their ankles and knees.   

Next Steps/The Future 

Where Do We Meet? 

Park Farm Hotel was an excellent venue for our first meeting. Our next will be held at Hethersett Social Club. There are other venues we could travel to. So we need to decide whether to stick to one central venue or to travel round to various clubs covered by the association and which have their own facilities. I think the essence of our decision is whether the venues charge or not. Park Farm and The Social Club both offer us facilities free of charge – something that is greatly appreciated. 

One comment made on this matter was: 

It was good of Richard Bond (Park Farm) to look after you and I feel that those facilities fitted beautifully - I see no reason to change this venue although the social club allows variation, (we shall see) and perhaps they may play a bigger role in sport promotion in the future if included  

 

Finance 

The constitution will look at the question of finance and the need for a bank account and treasurer. We already have a very generous cheque for £100 from Mike Jessop  which can be put towards promotional material.  

The Constitution 

The proposed constitution will be drafted in time for discussion at our next meeting when it is hoped that sports clubs, fitness groups and individuals will formally sign up to become members of HaMSA. 

Making the Association All Inclusive 

We need to consider how we make the association open to all, how we identify various sports and fitness groups not currently represented, how wide we open our membership and how we communicate. A comment on membership was as follows: 

For a committed forceful association to hold together, however, each and every interest must be concerned about 'WHAT'S IN IT FOR THEM?' We need to get each representative to keep being involved in the hope of benefiting their particular cause in whatever way:- 

Promotion of minority interests - walking, jogging is very important

 

Events 

The coming Village sports day will enhance what we do and also sport will receive a huge boost through the coming Olympic weekend in July. 

There will also be a come and try taster event in the grounds of Hethersett High School in May. Other suggestions for events included the following: 

Years ago I had thought of having an annual 'beating of the bounds' of Hethersett whereby all sports/leisure interests could walk the actual parish boundary if that is possible, as an extra sports/village 'fun' event (with refreshments etc). 

 

Peter Steward – March 2011