The threat to City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club (CoSARC) has quite rightly garnered much attention in the past week. The biggest disappointment in the whole affair is the unwillingness or inability of both the school and council to put the needs of the young community who benefit greatly from the running track first and foremost in consideration of its future. It speaks volumes for the value that these institutions place on an important community facility that a reasonable compromise could not be achieved without recourse to simply shutting the door to a club whose existence in Salisbury should be treasured and nurtured, not extinguished. I hope that the strength of feeling shown by the many supporters of CoSARC will allow good sense to prevail; the alternative would be a great source of shame for the city.
Dr Dave West, Former Salisbury Triathlon Club Chairman, Salisbury
How sad to see young athletes locked out of Salisbury track by the landlord, South Wilts Grammar School (SWGS). Particularly so in the week that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed the UK as the most obese nation in Europe. SWGS states it aims to develops a sense of responsibility towards the wider community in its pupils. It is rather difficult to reconcile this with the extortionate increase in fees imposed on City of Salisbury Athletics Club. Fees that may well destroy a community club, run by volunteers and catering for all members of the community who wish to keep fit and healthy, irrespective of ability or wealth. Far easier to see SWGS actions as those of an organisation focused on maximising its wealth to serve the needs of the narrow elite who attend the school?
Dr Kevin Tilley, Salisbury
I read with concern that South Wilts Grammar School is now denying our local athletics club, City Of Salisbury A&RC, access to the athletics track. The club’s volunteers provide regular, varied and safe training for both children and adults; and this invaluable service to the community is now under threat due to the highly questionable decisions made by Witlshire Council and SWGS. The club and the track is at the heart of a vibrant running community in Salisbury that grown considerably in recent years; we cannot afford to just throw away this valuable facility! To lose the services that the club and the track provide would be to the detriment of the city in general and the younger generation of Salisbury in particular.
Elizabeth Roberts, Salisbury
I AM appalled at the decision made by South Wilts school to lock the gates to the athletics track, denying entry to the clubhouse and track. Their behaviour was, at best, infantile. The City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club has developed over many years into a fully inclusive, friendly and supportive club enabling people of any age to participate and at times, compete for Salisbury as well as further afield. As a community we need to stand together and support CoSARC.
Jo Norbury, Salisbury
IT is with great regret that I read of the plight of the City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club and the way in which they have been locked out of their running track by the South Wilts Grammar School.
I live in North Wales and have spent a lifetime in Scotland, Yorkshire and the North of England in sport and leisure administration at the highest level. As a participant I have been involved in road and fell running for many years and long been a member of running clubs during that period. I cannot stress enough the importance played by such community clubs in fostering the health and wellbeing of our nation and in particular that of young students.
In recent years I had the privilege of chairing the North West Region Steering Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games and was a member of the London Organising Committee’s Nations and Regions Group. All our work was about inspiring a new generation of young people to participate in sport and to leave a lasting legacy of increased physical activity in the UK. The situation here seems to be directly undermining that ambition.
I currently chair a body managing all the sport and leisure facilities in a large local authority in the North West and have spent a large part of my career in developing agreements between schools and sporting clubs and know that with two willing partners such schemes for dual use work and are highly successful.
I do hope that those involved will come to an agreement in the near future to allow the club to continue it’s 25 year history on this site with access to the right kind of facilities rather than being relegated to the ludicrous position of conducting their athletic sessions in a leisure centre car park.
Andrew J Worthington OBE Pantymwyn, Mold Flintshire