On 23 August 2017, residents of Chester and Carlisle Road, Queen’s Park Bedford, hosted a Family Sports Day as part of project Clubhouse – a year-long active citizenship and creative community programme designed to explore, document and celebrate the residents’ concept of home and place in which they live.
Located on the communal green spaces at Chester and Carlisle Road, the Family Sports Day was an afternoon of fun, free and accessible sports activity for residents of all ages on the two streets. This resident-led activity was initiated by a small group of resident parents and grandparents, who were successful in a Cash 4 Your Community application to bpha, and were supported by the project Clubhouse to make the day happen.
Thirty-one resident children and parents gathered at the starting point to take part as Chester and Carlisle Roads were transformed into a sports trail featuring a site for races, an obstacle course and hospitality site.
An introduction from the lead resident set the spirit for the day and following a group warm-up led by local basketball coach, Daniel Bedeau, the races kicked off. Residents encouraged their neighbours on as adults and children took part in old favourites such as the egg and spoon race, three-legged race and sack race, concluding in a time-test obstacle course.
The day wrapped up at the hospitality site with tea and cake provided and cooked by the residents, fruit donated by Tesco, and a prize giving for all those who had taken part.
The first Clubhouse Sports Day brought the local community together to make use of their outdoor spaces as a location for communal fun, as well as providing a low-cost activity for residents during the summer holidays.
The equipment bought through the Cash 4 Your Community can now be used by the residents in the future. The aim is that the Sports Day will become an annual community event delivered by, and for, the residents of Chester and Carlisle Road.
“Everyone’s still buzzing about the Sports Day, people keep mentioning it. When I went to training yesterday, people asked me what I did over the holidays, and I said we’d held a sports day, and they said that was so good, and I said that it was amazing. It was such a good day.”
“They [talking about her children] loved the sports day, and they were really impressed with me joining in as well! They were like “right mum, so we’re all sports people!”. They didn’t expect me to compete, and they were really impressed!”
“The Sports Day brought people in who I’d never [met]… Kids were coming along I hadn’t seen before and chatting to children and that. We’re getting our name out there to Queen’s Park, that it’s not as bad as people make out. There’s room for a lot of improvement, but not as far as the community goes.”
“Thanku (sic) to you all for giving me this opportunity to suggest & see all this come together..”
Clubhouse is a year-long art and community programme supported by a grant from Health Courage through the Health Lottery, plus support from Arts Council England, bpha and Bedford Borough Council.
Photos by Cat Lane