Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 20 February 2022
BRAND NEW sports facilities officially opened inside of Bedworth’s Miners’ Welfare Park last Friday (18 February).
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council (NBBC) worked with their partners in creating the new facilities, including a new mountain bike trail and newly-refurbished tennis courts, which are intended to support future leisure needs – and will help to encourage people to be more active in the borough.
A Borough Council spokesperson stated that the projects are the ‘first key step’ in ‘exciting’ plans for the park, as a new multi-million pound facility named the Bedworth Physical Activity Hub is to replace its existing leisure centre.
The ‘Miners Mountain Bike Trails’ are a completely free family-friendly facility that has been approved by British Cycling.
It includes three different types of trails vary in difficulty levels, as well as a skills area, pump trail, and walking paths.
Honouring the town’s proud mining heritage, the trials have been aplty-named Charity, Newdigate, Hawkesbury and Woodlands, after Bedworth’s coal pits.
Nigel Huddleston MP (Con, Mid Worcestershire), Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Heritage and Tourism, attended the opening.
He said: “Physical activity is vital to our mental health and wellbeing, so venues such as this are crucial to levelling up access and driving participation rates for all.
“The Government has worked closely with Sport England and British Cycling to provide funding for this exciting new development, and I would encourage everyone to come down and make the most of it.”
Funding for the new facilities was provided by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Sport England, and British Cycling.
It was supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sports.
As well as the bike trail, the sports courts inside of the park have been ‘significantly’ improved and modernised.
The tennis courts have also been resurfaced and brand new fences have been erected, sporting a protected coded gate.
Floodlighting has been installed, and netball facilities have been introduced on each of the courts, with one being ‘county standard’.
Through a partnership with Bedworth Sports Club, who help to manage the facilities, an additional six CCTV cameras have been installed to improve security.
The Sports Club have working closely with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to develop a new online booking system to ensure access is as streamlined as possible and develop plans to drive participation.
Coun. Julian Gutteridge, Portfolio Holder for Health and Environment at the Borough Council, said: “With the path already being paved to build a brand new Physical Activity Hub in Miners’ Welfare Park, these additions kick off an exciting journey to revitalise the sport and leisure offer in Bedworth.
“We want to offer as many opportunities as we can for people to get involved with sports and outdoor activities and these fabulous new facilities will enable people of all ages to do just that.”
Conservative MP, Craig Tracey, who represents North Warwickshire, which includes Bedworth, said: “I was delighted to bring the Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston MP, to Bedworth today to be part of the opening of this fabulous new facility for the local community.
“It was a great opportunity for him to see first-hand what this will mean for our area and to share in the celebrations with all those who’ve worked so hard together to get this project off the ground.
“We know the huge benefits of a healthy lifestyle and so the impact these new facilities can have on residents should not be underestimated. They will provide an excellent opportunity for people to get more active, with the added incentive to maybe try out a new activity for the first time.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive for Sport England, said: “The Places to Ride fund is part of Sport England’s overall determination to create accessible, affordable and safe places for local communities to get active.
“This ambition is a major part of our 10-year Uniting the Movement strategy, ensuring that wherever you live or whoever you are, there are ways for you to both play sport and get active. Programmes such as Places to Ride play a big part in converting the inspiration that comes from watching major sporting events into daily activity habits.
“Whether it’s a solo cycle or playing tennis or netball with friends and family, our investment of over £185,000 in Miners’ Welfare Park’s bike trail and sports courts will give the opportunity for those living in the local area to take part in a range of activity choices on their doorstep. It means there will be something for everyone – regardless of age, background and ability.”
Brian Facer, Chief Executive for British Cycling, said: “It is always fantastic to see the impact that investment from our Places to Ride fund has on the development of facilities and shows that bringing a major event to this country – in this case the 2019 UCI Road World Championships – can have a lasting legacy.
“Having top quality facilities which are safe and well maintained is crucial in enabling cyclists to continue the growth in participation we saw during the 2020 lockdowns, and then giving them somewhere where they can develop their skills, inspired by Olympic Mountain Bike gold medallists like Tom Pidcock.
“Off-road disciplines such as mountain biking are a key focus for us, and we hope that everyone who uses these new trails will be more engaged, become members of British Cycling, and have cycling as their sport of choice in the future.”