Great news for Gloucester’s Athletic Track

 

Gloucester City Council has confirmed the renewal of the management agreement for the City’s Athletic Track in Podsmead for a further five years.

Locals may remember that this track was all but derelict until a partnership in 2012 between the charity, Gloucester Athletics Track Management (GATM) and the city council saw it revitalised and turned into Gloucester’s Olympic legacy.

Since then, the track has gone from strength to strength with GATM adding improved facilities and increasing its availability and use each subsequent year. The track is managed on a volunteer basis and incredibly, athletes are still able to use the track from as little as £1.50 – the same charge as five years ago.

Bob Purcell, Director of Gloucester Athletics Track Management, said: “With the support of local charities, we have made full provision for para-athletics in the city and are engaging more and more children and adults with a wide range of abilities.

“This year, we are focusing on improving our long and triple jump provision having invested in new pole vault and high jump beds and all without increasing admission costs last year.

“We are able to do this because of local engagement in Athletics from track administration, club management through to coaches and officials on a voluntary basis. The track has no employees that take a wage and every penny that the track makes is put back into the facility. GATM also invest £10,000 per year into a fund to guarantee the future of the track.”

Cllr Jennie Watkins, Cabinet Member for Communities & Neighbourhoods, said: “GATM have done an incredible job improving the track and have really put Blackbridge and Gloucester on the map for athletics. The difference in five years is remarkable and could have only happened because of the passion and commitment from the athletics community.

“Their tremendous efforts have made all the difference and we are delighted to extend the lease so they can continue to make progress with the development of a sporting hub and continued promotion of this fantastic sport.”

Bob Purcell, added: “The track which is managed on a purely voluntary basis is a model of sports provision written up and published by Sport England two years ago and since then GATM have offered advice to a number of facilities in similar circumstances as far apart as Whitley Bay on Tyneside and Tavistock in Devon.  This could well be the model for all new sports provision.”