Simon Parkinson, chair of Enfield Sport, on the revival of a local sports hall
Two years ago Enfield Drill Hall was facing closure. The management committee decided to stand down and it looked as if the building would be handed back to Enfield Council, with no certainty it would remain open.
Two years later, the new management committee has signed a long-term lease with the council, so they can now begin to invest in the building, knowing its future as a community sports facility is secure.
Many improvements have already been made and the sports facility is now being run in a professional manner by a group of committed and enthusiastic volunteers. The facilities that are available for hire include a sports hall (with three badminton courts), archery range, meeting room with a kitchen attached, and changing rooms.
Enfield Drill Hall in Old Park Avenue is now thriving again, with nine badminton clubs and groups playing there on a regular basis. The archery range is not as well used, but the management committee is making strenuous efforts to try to increase bookings. Based on their successful track record to date, it won’t be long before the archery range is equally well used.
Saving the building was important, not only to ensure its continued use as a sports facility, but also because it is an important community hub and a building of historic importance. Opened in 1901 as a Territorial Army building, it is now included on the Enfield Local Heritage List.
The revival of Enfield Drill Hall is a major success story and is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when a group of people work together to save a sports facility under threat. This will increasingly become important as an example of good practice, as the government’s austerity programme and local authority funding cuts continue to bite, putting more community sports facilities under threat.
The committee is rightly proud of what has been achieved in the last couple of years. Although challenges remain, Enfield Drill Hall now has a positive future; a future that didn’t look likely a couple of years ago.
For more information and to book the sports facilities: