A SMALL army of volunteers are rallying round to revitalise a Yate sports centre and turn it into a bustling, well-used facility for all the community.

Members of Yate and District Athletics Club have joined forces with Yate Town Council to take over running Yate Outdoor Sports Complex (YOSC), after managers the Circadian Trust’s contract with South Gloucestershire Council ended on Friday (October 30).

The club and councillors have set up a limited company to run the complex, which had become neglected with little money invested in facilities in recent years, and will now apply for charity status.

Athletics club chairman Stuart Nunn told the Gazette it had been a difficult 14 months, since South Gloucestershire Council revealed it would not be renewing its contract with Circadian to run YOSC and two other facilities at Downend School and Patchway Community College in a move which would save the authority £293,000.

“There was a chance if the club and Yate Town Council hadn’t stepped in that this place could close,” said Mr Nunn.

“If that had happened the athletics club would have nowhere to go. But now we are all terribly excited about making YOSC the place to go.

“There is a lot of work to do but people are enthusiastic about it and we have so much talent just from members of the club.”

The land at YOSC, which includes an athletics track, an all-weather pitch, three football pitches, a clubhouse and car park all used by various clubs and for numerous competitions, is adjacent to Brimsham Green School on Broad Lane and will continue to be used by pupils during school hours.

The new managers plan to redecorate the clubhouse and re-establish a bar service and kitchen with the aim of hiring out the venue for private parties, keep fit classes, as a polling station and blood donor location.

Athletics club vice-chairman and former construction company project manager, Jeremy Dale, said: “There are 2,500 new homes being built behind this land so we have a golden opportunity to make this a public building, especially as there is not another one in this part of Yate.

“In total our annual bills come to £200,000 and we know athletics tracks do not make money so we are looking to raise funds through the club house and in sponsorship so we can put chunks of cash away to invest in facilities when needed.”

The athletics club, which has 200 members and whose adult team has been promoted to the Midland League this year, plans to unveil the improved clubhouse at an awards evening on Saturday, November 21 (7.30pm).

Companies which would like to offer sponsorship are asked to contact Jeremy Dale on 01454 228957.