Kiveton Park was historically a coal mining village. So, in the mid-1990s when the pits closed after 130 years of production, local residents found it hard to imagine what the future might bring. The majority of buildings across the 200-acre site were demolished or left to fall into disrepair.
Kiveton Park and Wales Community Development Trust was set up with the aim of supporting the former mining community through social, cultural and economic regeneration. In 2014, the Trust took ownership of the colliery building and 7.5 acres of surrounding land. An extensive local consultation revealed overwhelming support for the development of a new sports facility on site.
In 2015, the Trust secured funding from Power to Change to deliver the project and in January 2016 work began to develop the facility. Work ran smoothly, and the Trust opened one nine-a-side football pitch and three five-a-side football pitches in May 2016 for community use. It is a fantastic site kept in first-rate condition thanks to weekly upkeep and professional maintenance delivered quarterly.
“The new 3G pitch at Kiveton Park has been a huge success for our community,” says Neil Newman, chairman at Kiveton Park FC. “The facility is used seven days a week and it’s a pleasure to see young people enjoying sport in a safe, controlled environment. It’s the best thing that has happened to this village in 20 years!”
In the three years since the sports facility opened, it has reached its £50k a year turnover target, making it a self-sustaining community business. Before Covid-19 meant it had to pause its activity programme, it was reaching as many as 4,868 users in a year.
“Playing walking football at the superb facility in Kiveton really has given me a new lease of sporting life and a bunch of new friends too!” said Paul Johnson, aged 60.
The colliery building is largely used as rented out office space, but the community have access to a large room. Here, the Trust holds coffee mornings and lunch clubs for elderly people in the community, helping to reduce social isolation. It also offers training schemes to give local people vital skills, such as IT training for older people so they can shop and bank online, use video call software and practice using a smartphone.
Although Kiveton Park had to pause its programme of activities during much of the Covid-19 pandemic, it remained a community support hub. It created a food bank for local people, which was run by volunteers and continues to reach those in need.
Volunteers also reached out to elderly residents who could no longer attend activities. They made regular phone calls and delivered parcels to help them maintain a level of social contact when shielding. A second Power to Change grant helped the business to survive the loss of earnings.
The vision for Kiveton Park is to reach a wider range of people and enhance the use of the sports facilities. The trust is continually looking to further develop the site to support people with additional needs. All profits are reinvested into the site to prepare for maintenance costs and work towards future development.