Battle-based Westerleigh Judokwai club on lookout for a new home

Westerleigh Judokwai club members SUS-190718-094111001
Westerleigh Judokwai club members SUS-190718-094111001

A judo club is at risk of closing unless it can find a new home.

Westerleigh Judokwai has been based at Claverham Community College in Battle for the last 12 years.

But the school is seeking permission to redevelop part of its site. The proposals include demolishing the original college building and some of its later extensions.

Paula Everest, from Westerleigh Judokwai, said: “We have been informed the new build will mean we are going to need to find a new training venue.

“We support approximately 130 athletes of all ages and abilities. We have been hugely influential in the world of inclusive judo and can be proud of having coached many athletes to regional, national and international level. Many families rely on us and for some Westerleigh is the only place their family member is accepted.

“It is imperative we do everything in our power to stop this club of 24 years from closing its doors. We need if possible a permanent training venue where we can leave our mat area down, preferably an industrial unit that is a blank canvass.

“School halls are often big enough but lack storage space for all our mats and other equipment. Church halls are too small.

“We need space for two mat areas as we run national competitions and have been planning to run an international one in 2020. We also need space to have a small coffee shop. Parking is also essential and it will need disability access.”

Anyone who can help can ring Paula on 07926 578027.

Paul Swatton, principal of Claverham, said: “We have had an excellent relationship with Westerleigh Judokwai over the past 12 years with a number of our students being active participants in the club.

“The recent issue has arisen due to the planned rebuild of the main college buildings which effectively means we will be moved into temporary accomodation for a period of 18-24 months.

“As far as we aware, at this point, the temporary accommodation and the new building will not have the same space in terms of a gymnasium or storage, which we currently have.

“This effectively means we will not have the capacity to store the club’s mats and equipment as we have over the past 12 years.

“We are certainly willing to explore mutually agreeable solutions to this but we, of course, wanted to make the club aware of this issue so it can make alternate plans if necessary.”

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