£1.1 million grant awarded for new community hall as part of latest grant awards

PR2089/EC/MF - 24/02/2017

Haywards Heath residents are set to benefit from new community and sports facilities after Mid Sussex District Council awarded St Francis Social & Sports club a grant of £1,120,000.

The funding was agreed at a meeting of the Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet Grants Panel last week and was confirmed on Thursday 23 February following a six day call-in period.

St Francis Social & Sports Club, based at Southdowns Park, Haywards Heath, provides the community with a range of sporting activities, including football pitches, a swimming pool and a bowls green. They also have hockey teams that play at the Triangle Leisure Centre and St Paul’s Roman Catholic School in Burgess Hill.

The £1.1 million grant will enable the St Francis Social & Sports Club Community Interest Company to build a new community building. The proposal, which is still subject to planning permission, includes a large community hall, a small hall, two meeting rooms, kitchen facilities, upgraded swimming changing facilities, a history centre and a café area.

The new community building will replace the old Norman Hay Hall, which was built and funded by the former St Francis Hospital, their staff, St Francis Social and Sports Club Members and local charities. The old hall was demolished to make way for additional housing but developers provided Mid Sussex District Council with Section 106 financial contributions towards replacement facilities on the same site.

“The old Norman Hay Hall was a real community hub that was host to a fantastic range of entertainment events, social gatherings and celebrations,” said Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Growth. “I hope this new community facility will bring people together once more by creating a welcoming, safe and modern environment for local activities. It demonstrates the Council’s commitment to ensuring that financial contributions from developers are properly used for the benefit of the community.”

Stuart Campbell, Chairman of St Francis Social and Sports Club CIC welcomed the news:

“St Francis Social and Sports Club is extremely pleased to be granted this funding. It will enable us to once again offer the growing local community a new purpose built, state of the art, multi-functional facility.

“We are very excited that this will be the catalyst to provide improved sports facilities for local teams and sports minded individuals. It’s going to be fantastic to have this new hall within the local community, so we no longer need to drive to other local towns for the provision of such facilities.”

In total £1,317,858 has been granted by Mid Sussex District Council to local voluntary groups for a range of community projects like installing new playground equipment, providing support for disabled people, organising free family activities and Mid Sussex Science Week.

For more information about Mid Sussex District Council grants contact the Performance and Partnerships Team on 01444 477275 or email Elaine.Clarke@midsussex.gov.uk.