OCRA has led on over £6.5 million of community recreation facilities
It was a great day for the Okehampton Sports and Activity Hub Pavilion project with 3 cheques being presented totalling £250,500 to local charity Okehampton Community Recreation Association- OCRA . Funding of £200,000 from the Okehampton United Charity, £50,000 from one of Sport England’s Olympic legacy projects, Inspired Facilities and a cheque for £500 from OCRA Chairman David Carter from his exertions in last year’s London Marathon.
Stuart Lord – OCRA Activity Development Manager says “This is a great boost to the project at a time we were worried it might falter and this substantial backing really paves the way for the new Pavilion. The project evolves from the loss of 2 small pavilions as sports facilities have developed over the years, a fast growing town and clubs working together. This Pavilion will support and enhance people’s experience, from a wide range of sports, clubs, services, recreational pursuits and events on the fantastic College / Simmons Park site.
Pavilion in the Park
The pavilion in the park is a community sports and arts centre.
It is located in the beautiful setting of Simmons Park and The Okement Valley.
The building is currently being used for Sports, Events, Parties, Meetings, Art, Exhibitions and Weddings and it is also available to hire out.
Local charity Okehampton Community Recreation Association (OCRA) in association with a range of local sports clubs opened the Pavilion in the Park in September 2013.
A beautiful modern building, designed and project managed by Oxenham Consult, offers the community, families and individuals a wide range of services which include Sport, Arts, Music, Training and Educational courses, Special Needs Activities, Drama, Dance, Therapies, Pilates and Yoga.
The Pavilion in the Park also offers dining, catering, snacks and a fully licensed bar. The facility is available for hire for a range of social gatherings; Parties, Meetings, Children’s Sporting and Magic Birthdays, Christmas Celebrations, Conferences, Weddings and Exhibitions.
The Pavilion offers a facility for all sports, which greatly enhances the experience for players, supporters, visitors and officials. Hockey, Netball, Cricket, Tennis, and Squash as well as OCRA’s development of local activity for children and adults, already take advantage of this fantastic facility.
The building consists of two social spaces, changing for sports, office area and spectacular balconies that make the most of the lovely setting in the Okement Valley and Simmons Park. The site links up with a wide range of pathways for walking, parkland play areas and access to an array of excellent sporting facilities.
Funding was received from Okehampton United Charities, Devon County Council, Sport England, Hockey Foundation, Devon Renaissance, Bernard Sunley Foundation and local groups.
Improving Grass Pitches
One of the current projects that OCRA are currently working on is to improve the grass pitches surrounding the Pavilion in the Park as they have not been altered in several years now. The aim is to improve the pitches and flatten them out as the high usage of these pitches has left them uneven, by improving them people can continue to use the grass areas for years before they need to be flattened again.
New All Weather Pitch
OCRA secured £100,000 from the Okehampton United Charities to replace the all weather pitch in 2009, the pitch will be used for sports such as hockey, netball, football and rugby, as well as a large variety of other sports.
This new development was part of OCRA’s £2.1 million sports project and the main aim was to improve facilities and act as a hub in the park for the town and local community. This developments main aims were to encourage tourism and improve facilities.
OCRA’s activity development manager Stuart Lord previously said that he was excited about what the project would mean for Okehampton: “After eight years of trying to get this into strategic policies and make agencies aware of the need for the facility, we have finally received full funding to move forward. The all-weather pitch in the past and also currently has been key to local sport and it was essential that a replacement was developed to help maintain the current high levels of activity and also to develop new opportunities for an assortment of people. It will promote the town as an active area, bring in tourism and, overall, provide sport and activity. I’d also like to say a massive thank you to all those who have made it possible.’
The vision for the new development came about through consultation with OCRA working closely with sports clubs, Okehampton College and a wide range of local, regional and national agencies.
Chairman of the Okehampton United Charity Derek Webber said he felt it was important to support the town and people, he said: “I think the all-weather pitch had been coming to its sell-by date and it needed a lift. The charity felt it was an important piece of equipment for the young and the old of Okehampton and the surrounding area to enjoy. It’s important to be able to keep training facilities up to date and encourage youngsters to play on the pitch rather than out on the streets. We felt that the team at OCRA were dedicated to improving the lives of youngsters and were in need of our support.”
Business manager for Okehampton College Alan King said the new pitch is the start of great things to come, he said: “The old pitch was there for 17 years and was badly in need of repair. It was beginning to affect the sports that were being played on it. To get the grant from the Okehampton United Charity was a tremendous boost for the project and helped to alert other organisations that we were serious about the project. OCRA have also been amazing and they are becoming more and more the hub of community sport. The new pitch would benefit students and the community for years to come: This is the first phase of their development plan for the next few years and it’s great to have it in place. It is one thing to have a vision but, it is another thing to see it to fruition. All our students now and for the next 20 years will benefit from this new pitch.’
The all-weather pitch is part of Okehampton’s Sport and Activity Hub project.
The whole project was set and aimed to be completed by 2012, with work on the pitch that was completed at the end of August 2009.
Anyone interested in using the facilities can phone Okehampton College on 01837 650910 or OCRA on 01837 318010
Parklands Leisure Centre Swimming Pool and Sports Hall
OCRA was founded in 1991 to develop a sports hall for the community.
As the project progressed it made great sense to combine this with a new swimming pool. OCRA was the local community leader and developed sports to show that this facility was needed within the community of Okehampton and surrounding areas. Working alongside West Devon Borough Council and Sport England. Parklands Leisure Centre was finally opened in 2002, equipped with a brand new gym, sports hall and swimming pool.
This was a huge task that was undertaken by OCRA and special recognition should be given to Peter Hammond who was the OCRA chairman.
Simmons Park Play Area Development and Willow Arbour
OCRA were able to add to the equipment in Simmons Park through a successful funding project that allowed them to install the fitness equipment and also equipment for older children, adults and also disabled people to use when they visit the play area in the park.
Also working with students from Okehampton College we were able to develop a beautiful willow arbour in the park.
Cricket Nets Refurbishment
This is a greatly used facility by both Okehampton College and Okehampton Cricket Club. It is also widely used by young people wanting to develop their skills for cricket and coming down to practices with their friends and family.
OCRA working alongside Okehampton Cricket Club were able to approach Okehampton United Charities who were keen to support the project.
Okehampton Sport & Activity Hub
• New all weather pitch
• More Community Grass Pitches
• Cricket Development
• Walking and fitness trails
• Spectator and resting areas
• Improved walking and Cycle paths
• 3rd Generation training area
• Beach area for football, rugby and volley ball
• Improved play spaces
• Club Hub building
• Promote the district as an “Active Area”
• Outreach sport and activities to all surrounding villages
• A unified approach to sport and activities
Okehampton Skate and Bike park
The skate park and BMX trail was opened by OCRA in 2005. After developing extreme sports in Okehampton and hosting large events that attracted young people from all over Devon. It was time to get our own park that people could access at any time.
OCRA found the funding for this project and managed the whole project as well. Big thanks to James Harrison and Ricky Bending for driving forward the wishes of the young people in the area, to Ross Campbell for the essential concreting work done on the site and to Mr Wooldridge for him giving us the land for the recreation of the local community.
The skate park and BMX trail were improved in 2009 and 2013.
The improvements to be made were to the skate park and also the BMX trail, the council gave permission to upgrade the facility which is located behind Brayham’s Terrace on the way to Abbeyford Woods.