PIDDLEHINTON Gym, a local community hub for indoor sports and recreational activities at Piddlehinton Enterprise Park, is fundraising to keep its doors open.
More than 200 people and ten organisations use the gym every week for badminton, five-a-side football, archery, junior tennis, remote-control car racing, roller hockey and more.
The gym has provided affordable facilities for local people and employees for over 15 years but the building’s 80-year-old roof leaks badly during heavy rainfall.
Now the roof must be replaced as it can no longer be repaired for safety reasons and unless funds are raised, the gym will have to close in the next year.
Facilities include a 32m x 12m main hall – two badminton courts – with sprung wood floor, raised exercise area with multi-gym, exercise bike and electronic treadmill, plus club room with table tennis table, kitchen, disabled toilet and changing rooms, plus storage and large car park.
The building was a former drill hall for a military camp built in 1941 and in 2007 was leased from Dorset Council under a 99-year non-repairing lease by Piddlehinton Gym Charity, run by local volunteers.
The charity was formed to manage the facilities and has invested more than £15,000 over the past six years on maintaining the building, including multiple roof repairs, funded directly by gym users.
Paul Hayes, chair of the Piddlehinton Gym Charity, said: “This project is critical for the sustainability of this local community resource.
“Rural sports facilities are in short supply and a negative impact on the wellbeing of the local community would be caused if the gym is forced to close.”
Piddlehinton Gym Charity has so far secured £25,000 of the £100,000 cost of replacing the roof, thanks to Piddlehinton Parish Council, Jade-Aden, Prototype Electronics and the clubs that use the facilities.
Various funding grants have been applied for, but the charity is now reaching out to local people and organisations to help keep the community resource open.
Anyone who would like to help with fundraising can visit the GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/f/piddlehinton-gym-new-roof-fund
It is also possible support the appeal by becoming a corporate sponsor, joining one of the clubs or using the facilities – the gym is open seven days a week from early morning to late evening.