28th March 2015

Saturday 28th March 2015 saw the official opening of the Basingstoke and Deane Canoe Club’s Colt Hill Clubhouse phase one at Colt Hill by Mr Ranil Jayawardena,  Conservative parliamentary candidate (subsequently elected as MP) for North East Hampshire.

Following the ceremony Mr Jayawardena, club members and members of the public enjoyed an afternoon of leisurely paddling on the Basingstoke Canal.

Janella Mansell, the Club’s paddlesport development officer, explained how the clubhouse will “enable more people to join in the paddling activities on a weekly basis now that the number of people who can participate is not restricted by the number of boats that can be transported on trailers”.

The development has been made possible by the funding support provided by Hart District Council, Sport England, British Canoeing, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and the Hampshire Playing Fields Association.  Sport England’s Chair, Nick Bitel, said: “Three years on from the Olympics, this National Lottery investment is helping us deliver a lasting sporting legacy in Basingstoke.  With investment now on offer from our Inspired Facilities Fund until 2017, we look forward to supporting many more sports clubs in Hampshire who play such a vital role in grassroots sport.”

A member of the public commented upon how “the new building complemented the area and was a significant improvement upon the wasteland that had previously been there”.

The club house will benefit a wide spectrum of the local community with educational and youth organisations eager to start using the facility. The easy access from the clubhouse to the canal makes it ideal for less able participants.

The opening represents a significant milestone for a project that has been running for nearly 20 years and is testament to the many thousands of volunteer and charitable hours that have been invested.