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Spalding's South Holland Centre and Castle Sports Complex could be offered to schools

Youngsters could be taking lessons within two prominent public buildings in Spalding
under a new offer being made by a leading politician.

South Holland District Council leader Gary Porter had offered The Castle Sports Complex and South Holland Centre to schools in the area when they return in the autumn to help support social distancing
requirements. This was made before the Government announced that gyms could reopen later this month.

The Government says that all pupils should be back in school by September with safety measures put in place, such as class or year group bubbles, to help prevent transmission of the virus.

The South Holland Centre
The South Holland Centre

Coun Porter has now asked district council officers to look into allowing the buildings to support the town’s schools.

Speaking before the latest announcement he said: “These buildings are not going to be used for the thing they are supposed to be used for any time soon. It would be a shame for them to sit empty when schools could be using them.”

Government restrictions concerning some indoor activities and their potential to transmit the virus have meant that both buildings are unable to reopen for the foreseeable future.

Coun Porter said: “The vacant public space can’t be used properly. Both of buildings need money spent on them going forward to get them where we want them to be. COVID has made that even harder.

“I have a couple of choices: to semi mothball them, which would mean a public asset sat there doing nothing; or we could use for the public good and I would rather like that if we can.”

Coun Patricia Bradwell, Lincolnshire County Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “The Government has recently announced that all pupils are expected to return to school in September, and has provided guidance to help schools do this safely.

“This will require significant planning to achieve, and we will continue to support schools over the coming months. I’m sure local school leaders will welcome this offer from the district council.”

Executive Head for Spalding Academy Lucy Conley said: “The offer for schools to have the opportunity to use the South Holland Centre and Castle Sports Complex in September to support social distancing has been well received and we thank those involved for looking at this solution.

“However, for both of our Trust schools, our plans for all students to return in September are progressing extremely well and we feel that all our learners can be well supported on our own school sites, where we can manage the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students effectively.

"Our schools have the space for us to be able to manage our students in Year Group Bubbles and within segregated zoned areas.The details of our plans will be shared with parents and student before the end of term."

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