Schools receive 'sugar tax' grant for sports facilities

March 27 2019

PUPILS at Blackhorse Primary School are celebrating after receiving a £40,000 grant to build a sports pavilion on their old field.


It will form part of a £70,000 project, with the rest of the cash coming from the school and its PTA.
The grant is part of the new ‘sugar tax’ fund, a government tax on sugary drinks, and has been distributed via South Gloucestershire Council.
The school has ambitious plans for the site and is looking at setting up a shooting range next to the pavilion for the new sport of laser run, a version of the modern pentathlon which aims to introduce children to the sport using pistol shooting and running.
It will also be open for members of the community to use outside school hours.
Unusually for a primary school, Blackhorse owns a separate playing field on the site of its old school.
Headteacher Simon Botten said: “When the school was currently built on the new site, the site wasn’t big enough to comply with new regulations on the size of playing fields  so the school retained the old field which is behind the football pitches used by Emersons Green FC. Up until now, we couldn’t really use the field as it was across a busy road and didn’t have toilet facilities. The new pavilion will bring this field back into use for us as a school.”
Following the construction of social housing on the land next to the old field, South Gloucestershire Council helped the school's business leader Debbie Beazer put together a bid to build a small pavilion with toilets and a kitchen.
The school’s PTA, along with the school, have raised the rest of the money for the £70,000 project.
“It will give our physical education and outdoor education programmes a real boost,” Mr Botten said.
“Our vision is to create something which not only benefits our school, but the whole community. We want to make the space provide our children with state-of-the-art athletics facilities in the summer, while continuing to work alongside Emersons Green FC, along with other community sports groups. We are especially interested in hearing from sports clubs which could bring a new activity to the local area.”
The school has even more ambitious plans for the near future: “We want to give our children a fabulous sports offering, and have recently become the first state primary school in England to introduce laser run. Being a school which trains some of the finest runners in the county, we know the children will really enjoy this new challenge.”
The school, which already teaches fencing, is currently working with local professional modern pentathlon coach Phil Hobbs, who approached the school having read about their running activities in Downend Voice.
As well as introducing the sport to the children, his goal is to set up a permanent shooting range next to the new pavilion so that children and the community can have access to the new sport.
Also benefiting from the sugar tax money is Christ Church Junior School, which will receive £24,000 for outdoor equipment.
It will spend the money on playground markings, enhanced security fencing so forest schools can be used more by classes, a daily mile running track, a dance stage for the playground and gardening resources.
Headteacher Pippa Osborne said: “We are so delighted by the scope this funding has given us to enhance resources that get our children more active, engaged in healthy lifestyles and mentally fit at the same time. It is a brilliant use of the 'sugar tax' money and we are really grateful to be part of the project.”
The news is a huge boost to the school which has been raising money for a new library after the previous one was destroyed by floods during Storm Diana in November.
It is hoped the new library will be open in time for the new academic year in September but could take up to a year.