Woking MP Backs Sports Community Hub Investment…

Woking MP Backs Sports Community Hub Investment…

Woking Tory MP Jonathan Lord is a firm supporter of investing in grassroots sports and says Woking Snooker is a vital pillar of the town’s community, as are other local sports community hubs.

His comments come as SnookerZone writer/journalist Chris Gaynor a couple of weeks ago interviewed the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association  Chairman Jason Ferguson who said it was a delicate balance between putting on events for the wider snooker fraternity and catering for the local and wider community who want to come in and play snooker – especially on weekends where there are wider events taking place. Sometimes, on a weekend, it is difficult to get a table if there are events, and sometimes players feel like they have to play in the events just to get on a table.

SEE OUR SCOOP WITH JASON FERGUSON IN THE WOKING NEWS AND MAIL ONLINE…

Lord MP said in a statement: “Sports venues are vital pillars in our local community. We are fortunate to have many sports facilities right across Woking, including Woking Snooker Hub. It is clear that hubs like Woking Snooker Hub help bring together the whole community and provide a welcoming place for anyone to come in, learn a new sport, and also socialise.”

He added: “In recent years, I’ve been pleased that the Government has invested heavily in grassroots football and local sports – and I continue to be a firm supporter of greater investment in hubs and facilities across the sporting sector community.

There have been reports that some of the Leisure Centres in the area MAY have their funding cut by the Council because of the enormous debt run up previously.

Last year, the Woking Council made a statement on their website: “The council faces an extremely serious financial shortfall owing to its historic investment strategy that has resulted in unaffordable borrowing, inadequate steps to repay that borrowing and high values of irrecoverable loans. Critically, the council can no longer balance its budget for the current financial year and subsequent years without action.”

The Council added: “Among the list of actions outlined, the plan commits to deliver a Medium-Term Financial Plan to close the £11m ‘business as usual’ budget gap for 2024/25, reduce outstanding debts through asset rationalisation and commercial strategies, strengthen governance underpinning financial decision-making and agree financial support from government.”

Cllr Ann-Marie Barker, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: “The adoption of the Improvement and Recovery Plan is of vital importance.”

She added: “There is no doubt that major savings are required. It is inevitable that over the next five years there will be substantial change to the services this council delivers to residents as it becomes a smaller, more efficient council focused on delivering core services to residents. I want to be very clear we have little room for maneuver and we must take the majority of identified savings.

Some of these “savings” COULD be in cutting funding for leisure centres. Already, the Council has proposed to scrap public toilets.

On the BBC website, Raymond Martin, managing director of the British Toilet Association, predicted the closures would affect trade for local businesses.

He told BBC Radio Surrey: “If you want people to come out and move around your towns and your villages then you have to provide public toilets because those people bring with them money, and money drives the economy.

The ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP FOR SNOOKER…

Nick Smith, a Labour MP from Wales, is the Chairperson and one of 7 people on the board for this APPG and tweeted out his support of this as a grassroots community for snooker. SnookerZone’s Chris Gaynor requested him to tweet out if he supported the idea of snooker clubs as vital community hubs as well as sports venues.

What is an All Party Parliamentary Group?

For those who don’t know, an All-Party Parliamentary Group is a group of MPs from the House of Commons and the House of Lords who meet to discuss issues relevant to their topic. They must meet at least twice a year, which includes the annual general meeting.

The snooker APPG consists of 7 MPs – including the former Tory Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

SEE APPG REPS HERE…

SNOOKERZONE reported on two maximum breaks last year and saw both. They were Peter Lines who played in the Open Series, and Mark Leonard, one star of the Byfleet League.

There are talented players at Woking Snooker including World Women’s No 15 Jasmine Bolsover – but it is important that the local and wider community have access to tables if they want to come in at weekends – and that events do not ALWAYS get in the way of the regular members being able to play.

One person we spoke to a week ago said this: “They take over most of the room!”

Chris Gaynor

Chris Gaynor is a writer with 10 years' experience writing for the web. He loves snooker, CSI and loves cycling off tiramisu!