North Notts Arena launches new plan to ensure its survival

Worksop’s struggling North Notts Arena is set to reopen later this month - aiming to diversify for its survival.

Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 4:45 pm

The community leisure centre has now been closed since March - while spending over £15,000 keeping the building running with no income.

Manager Nigel Turner told how after unsuccessfully applying for a council discretionary fund worth up to £25,000 he had secured three grants from community organisations.

The Big Lottery Community Fund, Sport England and Severn Trent have all stepped in with cash gifts - with Nigel adding ‘if we had sat back and waited for help we would be on our knees now’.

Trustees celebrating the hand over of the Arena in 2006 with David Payne, David Willey, Sheila Turner, Andy Turner and Nigel Turner from left.

However Nigel says - even in normal times - North Notts Arena depends on Christmas parties and charity events such as Worksop’s Got Talent to see it through the quiet summer months.

And with government restrictions on large gatherings likely to be in place for the foreseeable future the vital community asset’s future remains uncertain unless it can find other ways of generating income.

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Nigel, 65, who took over the running of the arena in 2006 as registered charity North Notts Community Leisure Ltd, is currently applying for more funding to expand facilities at the building.

Ken Doherty visiting North Notts Arena's junior snooker academy in 2017

He hopes to convert some of its spaces into training and function rooms and buy computers with internet access for those in the community unable to get online at home.

Nigel said: “One way or another we’ll diversify but there’s no way the Arena can be what it was in 2019.

“One way or another we can find our way around the predicament we’re currently in - which is what we’ve been doing for the last 15 years anyway. It doesn’t end here.”

The Arena was turned down for Bassetlaw District Council’s discretionary grant because its building rateable value - £153,000 - was too high.

Since then a bitter row has waged between the two organisations - with the charity insisting the council has ‘discretion’ over the funding award.

Nigel added: “Unless things start to open up again by the end of October we have to change the way we operate.”

North Notts Arena is set to reopen on September 28 from Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm.

To donate to crowdfunding page set up to save the Arena click HERE.

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