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"Pressure" on Ministers to prep island facilities for international events

Tuesday 15 August 2023

"Pressure" on Ministers to prep island facilities for international events

Tuesday 15 August 2023


The new Chair of the Jersey Sports Council has said he will be "putting pressure" on Ministers for funding to bring the island's facilities "up to scratch" for hosting events like the Island Games in future.

Steve Pallett, the former Assistant Minister with responsibility for Sport, was appointed to the Sports Council role in June.

He said he feared that Jersey might struggle to host major sporting events owing to the deteriorating state of some of the island's top sporting venues.

He said: "Our facilities need to be up to standard so we’ve got to think ahead and that’s where we will be putting pressure on the Government to ensure they are thinking ahead and providing adequate funding to ensure facilities are up to scratch and that clubs and associations can carry on providing the quality of coaching and support that those young people need.

"We’ve got to understand whether this current funding model is sustainable. There is a clear need to have an understanding of what public sports facilities will look like in the future."

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Pictured: Assistant Economic Development Minister Lucy Stephenson, who holds political responsibility for sport, is currently reviewing the Inspiring Active Places strategy.

Assistant Economic Development Minister Lucy Stephenson, who holds political responsibility for sport, is currently reviewing the Inspiring Active Places strategy which was unveiled in 2021 and was designed to be the blueprint for future facilities.

Mr Pallett added that the decanting of sports out of Fort Regent and the delays to the Oakfield project meant that St Helier was effectively down two sports venues at present.

"I think without Oakfield, it impinges on the Government’s ability to provide sports facilities in and around town. There are still issues surrounding what to do at the Waterfront and we need some direction as to what they will look like this term as well as in the future. So there’s a lot of issues at the moment."

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Pictured: The refurbishment and improvement of the facilities at Oakfield were part of a wider £100m ‘Inspiring Active Places Strategy’ to move sports out of Fort Regent and create a network of training sites across the island.

The need to improve sporting facilities comes as Jersey has made early inquiries into hosting the Island Games in the 2030s.

But Mr Pallett admitted that hosting large-scale events was becoming more problematic across the world – not just in Jersey.

"It is extremely difficult for a lot of the islands involved to be able to host the Island Games considering the number of sports involved and the number of facilities needed and this is a problem on a larger scale," he said.

"For example, look at the Commonwealth Games with Victoria pulling out and then Alberta in Canada as well, so clearly how you fund these Games are an issue at the highest level.

"I’d hate to think we’re ever going to get into a position where we couldn’t put the Games on. We’ve got to have facilities that are suitable for Jersey and they’ve got to be able to host an Island Games when needed."

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