By Rachael Grealish
Two West Cumbrian social clubs have been handed over to their local community by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as a gesture of good will.
The Falcon Club, in Egremont, and the Windscale Club, in Seascale, were owned by the NDA but run by Sellafield Area Sports and Recreational Association (SASRA), which has rented the properties since 1948.
However, the clubs have now been handed over from the NDA to SASRA as a goodwill gesture to the community – with the legal process of transferring the ownership of the properties has been completed.
Geoff Turrell, SASRA Chairman, said this transfer will mean the SASRA focus can now firmly be on ‘improving the health and wellbeing of the communities’.
“The four-year negotiation period has been time well spent,” he said, “The transfer will now enable SASRA to meet its main objectives of improving the health and wellbeing of the communities at both complexes through the provision of fitness facilities, and provide more options to reduce inactivity and increase physical fitness.
“It will also allow further development of the complexes for social activities as community hubs.”
The move to transfer the facilities from NDA into SASRA ownership involved talks with the Government, Copeland Borough Council, Copeland MP Trudy Harrison and other local stakeholders.
NDA Chief Executive David Peattie said: “We’re delighted the Treasury approved our proposal and we’ve now been able to hand over these important centres for the benefit of the community.
“The NDA has a responsibility to the local communities and stakeholders around our sites as we deliver our mission. In our work we take account of the needs of both current and future generations, and ensure value is delivered for the taxpayer.
“Supporting the local communities where we work is very important for the NDA, collaborating with others to ensure our funding has a significant benefit for local people.”
David also thanked the Copeland MP for helping the NDA ‘get to this position’.
Trudy said: “It’s fantastic to see two local facilities handed over to a community which places such value on them.
“The Falcon Club and the Windscale Club have played a key role for many local people in West Cumbria for a long time and have seen generations of people use the facilities.”
SASRA provides sporting, social and recreational facilities for the community and has strong local links, with over 7,500 members from across West Cumbria.
Mike Starkie, Copeland’s mayor, has called the gesture ‘well received’ saying both venues are ‘highly valued’ in their communities.
He said: “Having made an initial approach to the NDA to work with myself and SASRA on this project, I am delighted that the NDA have come through with this commitment.
“Both facilities provide fantastic amenity and recreation in Seascale and Egremont and their surrounding communities, and I know they are very well run and are highly valued by the users.
“Facilities like Windscale Club and the Falcon Club are especially important as we emerge from the COVID crisis and, when restrictions allow, for people to be able to socialise, take part in activities and to improve their wellbeing. I know this gesture from the NDA will be extremely well received.”
The NDA is charged with ensuring that the UK’s 17 oldest nuclear sites are decommissioned and cleaned-up safely, securely and cost-effectively, and also has a responsibility to help build sustainable communities around the sites where it operates.