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Creation of £1 million water sports centre reaches major milestone

Just two months after the start of work on a new £1 million training centre for the water sports industry at Stithians Lake, the construction of the new building has passed an important milestone with a topping out ceremony to mark the completion of the building's block work.

With cement trowels in hand, Lady Mary Holborow, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, assisted representatives of the scheme's major investors today (21 July) with the laying of one of the final bricks.

The project has moved at a rapid pace since the necessary investment package was secured in April from the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) and Sport England.

After the diggers moved in to prepare the site in May no time has been wasted in making the dream of a brand new multipurpose training and club facility a reality, with the project currently on schedule for completion in Spring 2005.

As it stands at the moment, Stithians Lake attracts around 50,000 visits a year from people coming to take part in watersports, as well as fishing, bird watching, camping and walking – although the only facilities are a selection of portable buildings, wooden sheds and a concrete store.

When complete the new centre will provide classrooms, computer access, boat and equipment storage, clubroom and changing facilities. Money will also be spent on environmental improvements and interpretation, a new slipway and pontoon, orienteering courses, a cycle track and bridleway.

Half of the cost of the centre has been provided by Sport England, the strategic lead for sport in England, while other partners in the project include Cornwall County Council, Kerrier District Council, Falmouth College, South West Water and the South West Lakes Trust.

Stephen Bohane, RDA Head of Operations in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly said: "Cornwall has a booming inland water sports industry and so the provision of qualified instructors to service this sector is essential. The new facilities starting to take shape at Stithians Lake will provide a safe year-round venue for vocational training offering the opportunity for those wishing to pursue a career in the watersports industry to train in the county and then remain in the region to take up jobs, possibly even teaching the Olympic athletes of the future."

Jim Clarke, Sport England's South West Regional Director, said: "We are delighted to be able to provide substantial funding for this project. At Sport England we aim to give people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to start, stay and succeed at sport and physical activity at every level. The Stithians Lake scheme enables us to provide the South West region with a valuable resource that will be of a long term benefit to the whole community."

Carleen Kelemen, Objective One Programme Director, said: "It is great to see the developments at Stithians Lake moving forward. The new facilities will provide excellent vocational training facilities, enabling the area to make the most of this fantastic natural environment. It is also a great opportunity for the area to attract greater visitor numbers, which will have a positive effect on the economic regeneration of the area."

The new centre has been designed in line with recommendations from Sport England – with a low profile building that will merge into the landscape and avoid wind shadows for watersports users.

The centre will be run by the South West Lakes Trust (SWLT), an independent charity set up in April 2000 that now manages the land around 50 lakes, reservoirs and stretches of riverbank, including watersports centres at Siblyback, Tamar Lakes and Roadford.

James Platts from SWLT said: "We are all very excited at the progress of construction that Cathedral Builders are maintaining and are looking forward to completion. The Development Officer jobs will be advertised shortly and with their help the centre will become a thriving hub of water sports training and a sports facility for the whole community."

Investment for the project includes £487,000 from Sport England, £310,000 from Objective One (European Regional Development Fund), £125,000 from the RDA, £50,000 from South West Water, £10,000 from Cornwall County Council, £7,300 from the South West Lakes Trust, £2,000 from Kerrier District Council and £2,000 from Falmouth College. The remaining funding will come from clubs, businesses and Wendron Parish Council.


Editor's notes:

The South West Regional Development Agency was established in 1999. Our most important role is to ensure the long term economic success of the region, by promoting the right skills among its workforce, the most innovative businesses, and a high quality environment.

For further information contact:

Jason Clark
Deborah Clark & Associates
01872 276276
07980 834368

Lisa Appleton
South West Lakes Trust
01837 871565


Sue Wolstenholme
Objective One Communications
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01579 370991

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