The Pavilion Project and parkrun

The cricket pavilion and scoring huts at North Walls could be considered part of the furniture at Winchester parkrun. Although primarily designed for use by the many cricket teams that play on the pitches there, the facilities are also used by many other sports clubs year-round. Several parkrun courses have been designed around the building, for the last couple of years we've stored all the kit there, and lately it's been used as a place to get together over a cup of tea once parkrun is done, something that is an important part of the culture for many parkruns. The entrance has long been the place to put jackets, bags and valuables while you're stretching your legs. You could consider it to be our HQ on a Saturday, and we're very grateful to be able to use it.

It doesn't take a keen eye to notice that the pavilion has seen better days though and without a refurbishment it could soon fall into disrepair. If that happened the impact on those groups that use it would be significant. Fortunately, a better long term solution has been found and rather than sprucing up the current building The Pavilion Project aims to replace it completely. Regular parkrunners might remember when Mike Caldwell from the project visited to show off the plans for the new building earlier this year. It looks fantastic and will be a huge asset not just for Winchester parkrun, but for the other sports teams who play matches at River Park and the community as a whole. Having a warm, dry place to get changed, store valuables and kit, as well being somewhere attractive to meet for a post parkrun natter will only enhance everyone's enjoyment of parkrun on a Saturday morning, particularly in the winter months.

So, why are we telling you all of this? The Pavilion Project is now looking for funding with a view to building the new pavilion in time for start of the 2019 cricket season, now less than a year away. Winchester City Council have agreed to fund a significant proportion of the project and there are other commercial backers, but Mike and the team would really like the community to get involved too. We are more than happy to help. Last week saw the launch of the Project's crowdfunding campaign to raise £5,000 by the end of July. If you've never made a pledge to a crowdfunding campaign before, or are not sure what it is, then think of it as like making a donation to charity but with one key difference: you get rewarded for pledging. For a donation of just £10 you will get a Pavilion Project wristband, for £15 a children's t-shirt designed by local artist Lucy McLoughlin or the adult version for £20. If you are feeling more generous, there are limited edition prints of North Walls, VIP tickets to this year's Bonfire Night, or your chance to be recorded on the Pavilion's Century Board in recognition of your support. If none of the rewards tickle your fancy, you can simply donate a sum of your choosing instead. The link to the crowdfunding page is here, where all the details are explained. Some of the core parkrun team have already made pledges and it couldn't be easier to do.

We, as your core team at Winchester parkrun, are very excited by the project. Yes, it will be a more pleasant place from which to put on an event each week, but also we believe it will help open up access for even more people in Winchester to come together and get active in the fresh air, which is what parkrun is really all about. It would be fantastic to see lots of our wonderful parkrunners show their support for the project, in however small a way. Please do share the links to your family, friends and colleagues.

Thank you from the core team, and see you next Saturday as usual!