Updated: Feb 28
The Papa’s Park sports pitch is hired out to a sports club from 7pm to 9pm every Monday to Wednesday. We also rent it out on Thursdays and Fridays to other groups - we try to make sure this is after dark, when the local community don't usually use it.
Why did the voluntary committee that manages Papa's Park decide to do this?
By 2019, the sports pitch at Papa’s Park was showing its age: the surface was coming apart, presenting a trip hazard, and the markings were almost impossible to see.
That year, we raised £50,000 from Sport England and replaced the pitch with a Matchplay 2 surface suitable for football, netball and basketball. This huge improvement has led to the pitch being used more often by more people.
However, Sport England gave us the grant on the condition that we raise enough money from the pitch to repair it when needed and replace it once it comes to the end of its life (probably at the end of this decade).
We need to strike a balance between having an open-access park and raising enough money to fulfil our obligations to Sport England.
Why we started with just one company
We started out renting the pitch from 7pm to 9pm every Monday to Wednesday to a single sports club called Go Mammoth.
Papa’s park is managed by a volunteer committee who all have day jobs and don’t have the spare time necessary to administer a booking system. Renting the pitch out to only one company meant that we didn’t have to deal with ongoing requests for ad-hoc bookings, which are difficult and time-consuming to manage.
We now hire the pitch to other groups
After 2 years of renting to one group and putting systems in place, we have now opened up Thursday and Friday evenings to other groups. We ask for a minimum rental of 8 weeks, to keep down the administrative burden. You can find out more about renting the pitch here.
Why we only rent the pitch weekday evenings
Renting the pitch out only in the evenings - and usually after dark - means that it's available to the local community for the vast majority of the time the park is open.
The days and weekends remain free, as do most weekday evenings until dusk (at which point we lock the park anyway).
We felt this was a good solution to the problem of raising money for the pitch - and helping with day-to-day running costs of the park - without burdening the committee with too much work or impacting park users too much.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.