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Sports hall campaigners overjoyed at £2.5m grant
5:24pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
CAMPAIGNERS fighting for cash to fund a new sports hall at a Hampshire school are “over the moon” at news they are to receive £2.5m from the Government.
Bay House School in Gosport has been told it will receive the funding from the Education Funding Agency (EFA), despite being refused the money twice. Work is due to start on the new hall later this month and is expected to last for 11 months.
The news follows a determined campaign by the school, parents and supporters to persuade the EFA to fund the capital building project.
The school’s crumbling old sports hall was declared unfit for purpose in January 2012. It was replaced with a temporary “tent-like” structure in the school grounds, which parents said was inadequate and denied youngsters vital sporting opportunities.
Parents and young sports enthusiasts were angry that the EFA had rejected the school’s application for cash to rebuild the hall on two occasions. And young county basketball stars, who train at the site, feared they would have to stop play unless the hall was rebuilt.
The Year 10 girls’ team – winners of the Hampshire Cup and quarter finalists in the National Schools Basketball competition – had been struggling to find somewhere to train and play matches after the hall was declared unfit for purpose.
The school appealed against the EFA’s funding decision again earlier this year and is thrilled at the outcome.
Head teacher Ian Potter said: “I am very grateful to the many people who have supported our campaign to achieve the funding to build what the school has sorely needed for so many years.
“It will be of great benefit to our young people, their families and the local community.”
Campaigner and parent Christine Allen, mother of basketball team member Alex, 14, said: “When we learned that the Education Funding Agency had agreed to fund the sports hall we were over the moon.
“We are so grateful for the support of the Echo and followers of the Facebook page.
“It is such a positive result for the school and the community and a great example of people power. We can’t wait for the building work to start.”
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